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OSP cleared Cecilia Dapaah of corruption, not the AG – Godfred Dame

The OSP says it conducted 7 months of full investigations and four months collaborative investigations with the FBI before clearing Ms Dapaah

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has pointed out that claims by a section of the media and some civil society organizations such as the CDD Ghana that the office of the Attorney General has cleared the former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah, of corruption are false and misleading.

On the contrary, Godfred Yeboah Dame said that the record will show that it is the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) that cleared the former minister of corruption and corruption-related allegations after the OSP had conducted what it described as 7 months of thorough investigations and four months collaborative investigations into allegations of corruption leveled against Cecilia Dapaah and her husband after a case of stealing over 1 million United States dollars against their former housemaid and others became public.

Incredibly surprised

Speaking in an interview during News File on Joy News on Saturday, 4 May 2024, Godfred Yeboah Dame said he is incredibly surprised that anyone will accuse his office of clearing Ms Cecilia Dapaah of corruption when the OSP has clearly stated in a press release on 25 January 2024, that it found no evidence of corruption and corruption-related offenses against Ms Dapaah.

“The Special Prosecutor himself released a press statement to the public specifically saying that they conducted investigations into the financial affairs and assets of former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah and they concluded very significantly in paragraph two of the press release that after nearly seven months of extensive investigations by the OSP and parallel enquiry by the FBI, no direct and immediate evidence of corruption has been found in the seized funds and frozen accounts linked to Ms Cecilia Dapaah and her associates.

“Then, they proceeded to say the investigations have identified strong indications of suspected money laundering and structuring. This clearly settles the issue that in so far as the funds located in Madam Cecilia Dapaah’s house were concerned, in so far as lodgment into her accounts locally is concerned, and in so far as the sums that were seized by the OSP were concerned, there was no direct or immediate evidence of corruption and that is not me stating this. This is the Special Prosecutor himself clearing madam Cecilia Dapaah, Godfred Dame stated.

“So, the records must reflect that the OSP, seized with the mandate to investigate corruption and corruption-related offenses, after conducting an elaborate inquiry had cleared madam Cecilia Dapaah of corruption as the OSP Why is the CDD now trying to suggest that the Attorney General cleared anybody of corruption? The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame asked.

EOCO’s completed work

Clarifying claims that EOCO did not conduct any investigations after it received the docket from OSP recommending further investigations into alleged money laundering and structuring against Cecilia Dapaah, her husband, and other people, the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame said on the contrary, EOCO conducted an independent review of the docket received from the OSP and prepared a report that was attached to the docket that was forwarded to the AG for advice.

“EOCO did not just present their report to us for advice. EOCO presented the entire docket on the Cecilia Dapaah matter, which had been delivered by the OSP to EOCO. EOCO presented those documents together with a report on their own review to the Attorney General for advice on the way forward.

“So, the point must be made that [EOCO did its work] and found no basis for proceeding and that is why EOCO stated in their letter to us [AG] that upon a review of the docket, they find no basis to posit an allegation of money laundering. EOCO could have stopped there due to the sensitive nature of this matter [EOCO decided to seek the advice of the AG]” Godfred Dame stated.

AG’ advice

The Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice in an advice to EOCO dated 25 April 2024 and signed by Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney said the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s (OSP’s) referral to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for investigations to be conducted into suspected money laundering in the Cecilia Dapaah case is without basis.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the docket presented to EOCO only contained the OSP’s letter transmitting the docket, the diary of action, statements taken during the investigation, and letters written by the OSP to other institutions like the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and banks for inquiries.

The OSP docket contained no findings on the OSP’s investigations. It also did not contain any report on the alleged collaborative investigations conducted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI).

“In the absence of the identification of any criminality associated with the properties retrieved from the suspects, the OSP’s referral to EOCO for investigations to be conducted into money laundering is without basis”

“Even though as part of your mandate you can commence investigations into source(s) of the money found in the home of the suspects, we do not find this necessary since the Office before the reference by the OSP, had instructed the Police Service who are already seized with other aspects of the case to investigate the source(s) of the huge sums of money found in the home of the suspects, a fact the OSP is aware of,“ the AG’s communication to EOCO read.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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