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Investigations conducted by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the United States of America (USA) have showed that the case of Cecilia Abena Dapaah, former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources was related to money laundering and structuring.

And since the OSP has no mandate in money laundering cases, the case has therefore been transferred to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).

The move is in compliance with section 3 of Act 959, which mandates the OSP to cooperate and coordinate with other law enforcement agencies.

Subsequently, the OSP has withdrawn all the charges against Cecilia Abena Dapaah at the Accra High Court.

The court has therefore ordered the OSP to release all her frozen assets within 72 hours.

“By operation of law, EOCO has a specific and direct mandate in respect of suspected cases of money laundering and its attendant activity of structuring. Consequently, the Office is referring the case to EOCO for continued investigation and further action,” Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng told journalists on Thursday morning.

He explained that the OSP will be in close collaboration with EOCO and continued collaboration with the FBI.

He said after months of investigation, no direct and immediate evidence of corruption has been found in the seized funds and frozen bank accounts linked to Ms Dapaah and her associates.

Background

The OSP commenced investigation in July 2023 in respect of suspected corruption and corruption-related offences regarding large amounts of money (mainly in foreign denominations) and other valuable items involving Ms. Dapaah, her spouse, Daniel Osei-Kufour.

This came after the pair reported huge sums of money stolen from their residence by their employees.

The charges recounted that between July and October 2022, the accused persons allegedly stole valuable items from the residence of Ms Dapaah and Mr Osei-Kufour at Abelemkpe in Accra – including cash amounts of $1,000,000) and €300,000.

Following several court proceedings, the Special Prosecutor directed full investigation into corruption and corruption-related offences involving the Ms Dapaah who was the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources at the time.

On July 24, 2023, the Office placed Ms. Dapaah under arrest on charges of corruption and corruption-related offences and subsequently conducted searches in three residential properties associated with her and the spouse.

The searches led to the discovery of the cash sums of $590,000.00 and GH₵2,730,000.00.

From October 2023, the investigation became cross-border and transboundary upon the claim by the persons of interest that part of the seized cash sums was transported to Ghana from the US.

As a result, the FBI became involved in a collaborative investigative work with the OSP aimed at determining the source of the money.

Following seven months of in-country and four months of collaborative transboundary investigation, gathered evidence and intelligence, it seems to us that the case is largely in the province of suspected money laundering and structuring.

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