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Attorney General rubbishes OSP’s request for EOCO to investigate Cecilia Dapaah over money laundering

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Crime & Punishment of Wednesday, 1 May 2024

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Office of the Attorney-General (AG) has stated that there are no grounds to investigate the former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah, and her husband for money laundering, as recommended by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng.

This statement was contained in an Advice given to the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) by the Attorney-General in response to a request for direction by EOCO, regarding the case involving Cecilia Dapaah and her husband, referred to them by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).

The OSP had closed its case against the former minister and her husband, who were accused of corruption and corruption-related offences in relation to the alleged theft of $1 million and €300,000 by former househelps of the couple, from their residence in Abelemkpe.

The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng found no evidence of corruption and corruption-related offences committed by the couple but concluded that the case might border on “money laundering and structuring”. The OSP indicated that his office lacked the authority to prosecute or take action on money laundering and, therefore referred the case against the former Minister to EOCO.

However, the AG’s Office indicates that the basis for investigations to be conducted into money laundering does not exist as the OSP did not make any findings against the former Minister to support such a request.

In a letter to the Executive Director of EOCO, sighted by GhanaWeb and signed by Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson, the Office of the Attorney-General argued that the OSP’s referral documents are “without basis” as money laundering is an offence predicated on criminal or unlawful activity. The OSP’s seven-month investigations did not establish evidence of any criminal activity or unlawful activity engaged in by the couple from which the offence of money laundering could be inferred.

“At the heart of the offence of money laundering is gains obtained from criminal proceeds arising from an unlawful activity, which is defined in section 63 of Act 1044 to refer to offences specifically spelt out therein”, the Attorney-General noted.

The AG also noted that the OSP failed to present a report on the collaborative investigation with security officials from other countries, including the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which was said to point to money laundering.

“You have stated in your letter that: upon a review of the docket from the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), it is not clear which predicate offence to posit an alleged case of money laundering by the OSP on”.

“We observe that the OSP did not place a copy of its report on investigations conducted by that outfit on the docket submitted to your office. The OSP’s letter to you also did not disclose the basis for the suspicion of the commission of the offence of ‘money laundering and structuring’. It is thus difficult to ascertain the basis for the OSP’s suspicion of the commission of the offence of money laundering and structuring by the suspects.,” part of the letter reads.

The A-G observed that by a letter dated 1st February 2024, EOCO wrote to the OSP for a copy of the OSP’s findings in order to facilitate EOCO’s investigations, but to date, the OSP has not responded to EOCO’s request.

The AG added, “… 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”.

BAI/EK

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