Officials of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, have discredited claims making the rounds that they spent five hours counting huge sums of money, found in the homes of the beleaguered ex-Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, saying the claim was untrue.
They will not say what they took away from her home on Monday when they stormed her two homes; her official residence at Cantonments and her private home at Abelemkpe also in Accra with heavily armed Police and military officers after arresting her earlier in the day.
This, follows the alleged theft of substantial sums of money; US$1 million, €300,000, unspecified amount of Ghana cedis, cloths, suits among others by the house helps of the 69-year old minister and her husband, one Daniel Osei Kuffuor.
Sources who refused to be named, told The Herald that Kissi Agyebeng, the Special Prosecutor, will speak directly to the public on the investigations when ready.
“He will inform the public when he is ready,” The Herald was told.
The OSP office also described as “false claims” some pictures in circulation, saying it did not emanate from that office, as they couldn’t have taken those pictures and be circulating them. They insisted that they are acting professionally.
One of the pictures showed a wardrobe full of US dollar bills, boxes of jewelry among others with the inscription “inside Cecilia Drobe”.
An electronic flier also had “Breaking News: Officials of the OSP make further discoveries at the home of Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah: $17.5 million USD, GHS3 Million, €7.5 Million found at her Abelemkpe home today, 25th July, 2023”.
But all these and others, have been discredited as coming from the OSP as sensationalism.
“Your friends in the media space are unfortunately becoming sensationalists and brazenly publishing false claims all over in respect of many things”.
“We haven’t revealed or stated the results of our search exercise anywhere – as to whether we found anything worth our attention or otherwise. So how are they gleefully publishing such things without verification?
“We didn’t allow any media person or any person without clearance inside. I can confidently say they are intentionally misleading the public”.
Media reports, had said that the ongoing investigations of the former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources , by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has revealed ‘something significant’ from the suspect’s house.
The news report was attributed to citinewsroom.com by Ghanaweb saying although the specific ‘significant’ thing is not known by name, it is expected that the OSP will update the country on the progress of its investigations so far.
The report, however, said that other relatives of Cecilia Dapaah, who is mentioned by Jubilee House contacts closer to The Herald, met with President Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday, Tuesday July 25, 2023, are also expected to be interrogated as part of the investigations.
Also, the report said that the OSP, has since served the former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources with the declaration of income and property forms.
Cecilia Dapaah, resigned as minister on Saturday, July 22, 2023, following public criticism about the monies stolen from her home.
The former minister, in her letter of resignation addressed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, explained that she decided to resign because the issues surrounding the monies could affect the government negatively.
However, she noted that the subject of theft in her home, as captured by many reports, has been grossly exaggerated.
“Since Friday, July 21, 2023, social and traditional media have been full of stories about a court case involving a theft that took place last year in the home I live with my husband and daughter.
“The stories sought to suggest that I own various huge sums of foreign currencies and millions of Ghana cedis which have been stolen from my home. Whereas I can state emphatically that those figures do not represent correctly what my husband and I reported to the Police, I am very much aware of the import of such stories around someone in my position.
“I am resigning, therefore, because I do not want this matter to become a preoccupation of government and a hindrance to the work of government at such a crucial time,” parts of the letter read.
Meanwhile, Ms. Dapaah, who is said to be stingy and never contributes to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) activities among others hence no one ready to defend her, has had the Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, come to her defence.
He has urged the public to exercise caution in their judgment and commentary on the matter.
While acknowledging that keeping such significant amounts of money at home is not advisable, Dr Kokofu, cautioned against forming premature conclusions and engaging in trial by public opinion.
He emphasized the importance of allowing proper investigative processes to take place before reaching any verdict.
During a panel discussion on Accra-based TV3, Dr Kokofu, suggested that the possibility of raising $1 million through legitimate means should not be ruled out. He drew attention to the high value of land in exclusive areas like East Legon, where individual land sales could easily accumulate such funds.
“The point is until investigations prove otherwise, we are here in this country and you go to East Legon and other lands are being sold for $150,000 per plot…and even more, so $200,000 per plot, so if somebody has five plots and sells them, $1,000,000 is on hand easily…I am trying to say that, how you can realize money in the scheme of things, legally without necessarily engaging in corruption…”
The EPA CEO emphasized the need to allow proper investigative processes to take place before reaching any conclusions regarding the allegations against Cecilia Abena Dapaah. He cautioned against assuming guilt prematurely and advocated for a fair and thorough investigation.
Board Chairman of the National Theatre and member of the NPP, Nana Fredua Agyeman Ofori-Atta has jumped to the defense of Cecilia Dapaah.
Discussing the issue on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ morning show, Nana Fredua defended Mrs. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, stating that she is not a thief.
Nana Fredua recounted his personal relationship with the resigned Sanitation Minister and expressed shock at critics for accusing her of obtaining the monies through dubious means.
He defended Cecilia Dapaah’s character, describing her as a good person and emphasizing that she was well-to-do even before she joined politics.
“She is a good person. She is not a thief. She doesn’t steal,” Nana Fredua firmly asserted during the discussion.
Nana Fredua disclosed that Mrs. Dapaah had previously worked in public relations at CMB and was successful together with her husband, who is a highly respected architect globally.
“She is from a good home…it wasn’t politics that gave the things she has. “When I met her, she had done a PR job at CMB and was independently working for herself together with her husband. Her husband is a well-respected architect globally, not only in Ghana,” he explained.
Clement Wilkinson, who is the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Ga West had also described the sum as a funeral donation on Accra-based UTV, stating he believes the company that dredged the Odaw River, Dredge Masters Limited could have made such huge donations to the Minister.
“The company which received $43 million dollars to dredge the Odaw River could have given Cecilia Dapaah $2 million dollars as a funeral donation. You know until the family meets to look at the entire donation, it would not be touched. It could be the reason the money was at her home,” he said.
The Minister came under criticism after news of her two house helps stealing these huge sums of money broke out.
The accused individuals, 18-year-old Patience Botwe and 30-year-old Sarah Agyei are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and five counts of stealing, which include US$1 million, €300,000, and millions of Ghana Cedis.
The alleged thefts occurred between July and October 2022.