Cecilia Dapaah’s millions: OSP, other bodies to investigate suspected money laundering against former minister

Cecilia Dapaah’s millions: OSP, other bodies to investigate suspected money laundering against former minister

The Special Prosecutor (SP) has announced plans to collaborate with state agencies to investigate money laundering suspicions against former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah.

The Special Prosecutor says following claims that part of the huge sums of cash found in the home of the former minister, as well as money discovered in her bank accounts were repatriated from abroad, the Federation Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States which stepped into the investigation, found suspected money laundering activities in Madam Cecilia Dapaah’s case.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, November 29, the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Kissi Agyebeng said, “The investigation became cross-border and trans-boundary upon the claim by persons of interest that part of the seized cash sums was transported into the jurisdiction of the United States. For that reason, the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America became involved in collaborative investigative work with the OSP on the matter.

“The investigation has been largely aimed at determining the sources of the large cash sums. We have had the benefits of five months of investigation and the circumstances of the case are clearer to us. Part of the case is in the province of money laundering and structuring,” he said.

Mr Agyebeng explained that his outfit did not have the structures to investigate money laundering cases hence it plans to collaborate with State agencies to get to the root of the matter.

“The OSP does not have a direct mandate on money laundering therefore the office will invite law enforcement agencies that have a direct money laundering mandate for collaborative work in respect of those parts of the case,” he said.

This new development implies that the case will be reopened following the initial refusal of the High Court to confirm the freezing and seizure orders the OSP had applied for. However, these new findings Mr Aygebeng says give a new angle to the case.

Background

Two house helps who worked for Cecilia Abena Dapaah and her husband, Daniel Osei Kuffour are facing charges for allegedly stealing monies and items worth millions of cedis from the couple’s residence at Abelemkpe in Accra.

The main accused individuals, 18-year-old Patience Botwe and 30-year-old Sarah Agyei have been charged with conspiracy to commit crime and five counts of stealing.

The alleged thefts occurred between July and October 2022.

During this period, the house helps allegedly stole personal effects belonging to Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, including assorted clothes valued at GH¢95,000, handbags, perfumes, and jewellery worth US$95,000.

Additionally, Ms Botwe is accused of stealing six pieces of Kente cloth worth GH¢90,000 and six sets of men’s suits valued at US$3,000, which belong to the minister’s husband.

Furthermore, three other individuals, identified as Ms Botwe’s current and former boyfriends and her father, are also facing charges for allegedly being involved in the crime. They have been respectively charged with dishonestly receiving GH¢1 million, GH¢180,000, and GH¢50,000.

According to court proceedings, the stolen monies and items belonged to Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah and her husband, taken from their bedroom in their residence.

The accused individuals were arraigned before an Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Susana Ekuful, on Thursday, July 20, 2023. However, their pleas have not been taken yet.

The court granted bail to Sarah Agyei in the sum of GH¢1 million with two sureties. The sureties are required to deposit their Ghana cards with the court’s registrar. The bail conditions are subject to review by the substantive judge, as Susana Ekuful was serving as a relief judge.

On the other hand, Ms Botwe, along with her alleged boyfriends and father, have been remanded into lawful custody.

The complainants reported the theft case to the police in June 2023 after discovering the missing cash and personal effects.

Ms Botwe was caught red-handed entering the couple’s room with a duplicate key, leading to her arrest.

Further investigations revealed that Patience, with the help of her alleged accomplice Sarah, had hidden the stolen money and used it to purchase properties and expensive items.

This information got Ghanaians talking with many asking CHRAJ, the OSP and the Ghana Police Service to investigate the source of the money.

Subsequently, the Special Prosecutor announced that his office was investigating the matter, starting with the arrest of Madam Cecilia Dapaah.

Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appointed the Minister of State at the Presidency and Member of Parliament for Tano North, Freda Prempeh, to take over as Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources since the resignation of Madam Cecilia Dapaah from office.

More arrests, more houses

During the trial of the suspects in the theft case, the Ghana Police Service said three more persons have been arrested in addition to the four people standing trial in the theft case involving former Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah.

This follows the amendment of the previous charge sheet based on the advice of the Attorney General.

The accused list now comprised Patience Botwe, 18, hairdresser; Sarah Agyei, 30, unemployed, Benjamin Sowah, 29, plumber, Malik Dauda, 34, unemployed, Christiana Achab, a trader, Job Pomary, a mechanic, and Yahaya Sumaila, an excavator operator.

They have, together, been slapped with 14 counts comprising of conspiracy, five counts of stealing and 8 counts of dishonestly receiving.

According to the facts of the case against the three new suspects, Christiana Achab, who is a trader and Job Pomary, a mechanic, they are said to have received an amount of Three Hundred Thousand Ghana cedis (GH¢300,000.00) from Patience Botwe, the house help of Cecilia Dapaah in 2023.

In that same year, Christiana Achab is said to have dishonestly received another amount of Eight Hundred Thousand Ghana cedis from Patience.  

She is also said to have received a further Three Hundred Thousand Ghana cedis. This was different from a previous Three Hundred Thousand cedis, Christian and Franklin (who is at large) received in 2022.

For Yahaya Sumaila, an excavator operator, he is said to have received Eight Hundred thousand Ghana cedis together with Christiana in 2023.

The police further revealed that Christiana Achab, who received over GH¢2 million of the stolen money, purchased an eleven-unit chamber and hall self-contained house at Budumburam at the cost of GH¢800,000 for herself.

She is also alleged to have purchased a three-bedroom house at Aplaku at the cost of GH¢300,000 for Patience Botwe. 

Also, Christiana Achab and Job Pomary allegedly purchased a four-bedroom house at Kokrobite at the cost of GH¢280,000 for Christiana. 

Christiana Achab is further accused of contacting Yahaya Sumaila and purchased a three-bedroom self-contained house at Amrahia at the cost of GH¢850,0000 in the name of Yahaya Sumaila.

In addition to the houses, she also purchased two Honda Acura vehicles at the cost of GH¢300,000 each registered in the name of Franklin Sarakpo, and Patience Botwe.

Source: myjoyonline.com

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