Home Crime and Punishment Trial of Cecilia Dapaah’s maids: Ex-Minister’s husband gives court detail of monies...

Trial of Cecilia Dapaah’s maids: Ex-Minister’s husband gives court detail of monies stolen

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Crime & Punishment of Saturday, 4 May 2024

Source: starrfm.com.gh

Daniel Osei Kuffuor, the husband of former Sanitation Minister Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has detailed the theft of monies from their storeroom, allegedly by their househelp, Patience Botwe, and six others.

The 85-year-old professional architect, boasting 53 years of experience, claimed that the accused persons stole two sets of money totaling $210,000 and $200,000 from their storeroom.

Additionally, he stated that £300,000 belonging to him and GH₵300,000, which were contributions from Cecilia Dapaah’s siblings for their late mother’s funeral, were also stolen.

Patience Botwe, 18, and Sarah Agyei, 30, along with Benjamin Sowah, Malik Dauda, Christiana Achab, Job Pomary, and Yahaya Sumaila, have all denied the charges against them, which range from conspiracy to steal to stealing, dishonestly receiving, and money laundering.

Despite being granted bail, they have been unable to meet the bail conditions and remain in lawful custody.

In court on Friday, May 3, 2024, Daniel Osei Kuffuor, husband of Madam Cecilia Dapaah, testified as the first prosecution witness. He recounted that after encountering Patience Botwe in their room, they later realized their valuables had been stolen.

While being led by Christabel Selma Anafure, Assistant State Attorney, to give his evidence-in-chief, Mr. Kuffuor mentioned that the stolen monies were in different currencies.

“Subsequently, my wife and I discovered that some of our valuables, as well as large sums of money, had been stolen from the storeroom. This included an amount of $210,000, which belonged to my wife’s deceased brother, Nana Akwasi Essan II, also known as Charles Dapaah,” he said.

He further stated that other monies stolen from their storeroom included: “$200,000 belonging to Dorcas Wiredua, my niece, who is also my client, £300,000 belonging to me, and GH₵300,000 being contributions that my wife’s siblings and she made towards the funeral of her late mother. Additionally, GH₵50,000 belonging to my wife was taken,” he stated.

The witness also told the court that after noticing their belongings and money were missing, they attempted to get the first accused, Patience Botwe, to return the stolen items due to the relationship they had with Malik Dauda, the fourth accused person.

Regarding the shared monies, he expressed that after some time, they realized that Patience Botwe was determined not to return the monies.

The husband of the former sanitation minister also informed the court that the police had revealed through their investigations that the stolen monies had been distributed among different individuals, including the accused persons.

“The police initially arraigned the first accused person before the court, and she was granted bail. However, we were later informed that she had jumped bail. In 2023, we were notified by the police that the first and third accused persons, Patience Botwe and Benjamin Sowah, had been arrested at their hideout in Tamale,” he added.

Regarding the missing jewelry, the witness told the court that his wife had conducted a stock-taking and discovered that her jewelry, purchased over thirty-five years ago and valued at $95,000, was also missing.

Mr. Kuffuor clarified to the court that they had employed the first accused, Patience Botwe, to work as a househelp in July 2022. They were introduced to her through Malik Dauda, the fourth accused, whom he had known for about 20 years.

“The fourth accused person worked at my office car park as an errand boy and is the father of the first accused person’s child. The first accused person’s duty, as instructed by my wife, was to come to the house twice a week to clean the compound,” he said, noting, “She was not a resident in the house.”

On the fateful day of October 6, 2022, he left the house with his driver around 7:30 am for a family meeting in Akyim Oda. “We drove to Dome to pick up my lawyer, who was to accompany me to Akyim Oda. However, upon reaching his house, he advised me to postpone the trip. Based on this advice, I returned home to change my clothes and head to the office. Upon entering the house, I noticed that the lights in the bedroom corridor, which I had earlier switched off, were on, and I heard unusual noises that alarmed me because I suspected there was an intruder in the house. I found that the door to the kitchen was open, so I entered, but there was no one there,” he recounted to the court.

“I then went to our bedroom and saw that the door was open with a strange key left in the keyhole. I entered but did not see anyone in the master bedroom. I also realized that the storeroom, our third bedroom used for storage, was open,” he continued.

“Before entering the storeroom, I noticed that it had been opened with the original key, which had always been safely kept in the master bedroom. Upon entering, I saw the first accused person hiding behind the door,” Mr. Kuffuor said.

Regarding the arrest, he told the court that when he questioned her about her presence in the storeroom, she failed to provide a reason. “I escorted her out of the storeroom, and while in the corridor, she escaped. I immediately alerted my driver, Raymond Ashi, who eventually found her hiding in the toilet of the Boys Quarters. With the assistance of the policeman on duty, we took her to the Tesano Police Station. When I returned home from the police station, I noticed that the storeroom had been ransacked,” he told the court.

Following the conclusion of his evidence-in-chief, defense lawyers began their cross-examination.

EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, who was present in court, reports that the court has denied a request from Benjamin Sowah and Malik Dauda (third and fourth accused) for bail variation.

The court, presided over by Justice Marie-Louise Simmons, has adjourned the case to May 15 for further cross-examination.

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