Justice Edward Twum of the Financial Division of the High Court has ruled in favour of Cecilia Dapaah, former Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, ordering the return of her seized properties and the unfreezing of her bank accounts.
The court dismissed the application for the confirmation of the seizure of her assets and freeze of her bank accounts by Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), stating that the action was based on mere speculation and guesses, fueled by media attention on her alleged wealth.
In his ruling, Justice Twum cited jurisdictional grounds as one of the reasons for dismissing the application. The court noted that the application was filed 14 days after the deadline, making it invalid under section 32(2) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act.
Regarding the claim of tainted property, the court found that there was no reasonable suspicion to support the seizure of Dapaah’s belongings. It emphasized that there was no evidence linking the seized money to corruption or any illegal activities.
Justice Twum questioned the basis on which the Special Prosecutor determined that the money was tainted.
He pointed out that ownership and possession are not the same, and Dapaah had no motive to conceal or destroy any alleged tainted property.
The court also ruled that the seizure of Dapaah’s properties was conducted without a warrant.
It stated that since Dapaah did not attempt to hide or dissipate any alleged tainted property, a warrant was necessary for the entry into her home.
Regarding the bank account freeze, Justice Twum upheld Dapaah’s claims that the Special Prosecutor failed to provide evidence that the money in her accounts was derived from corruption.
The court also noted that no evidence was presented to demonstrate that the funds were used for corrupt activities.
In conclusion, the High Court ordered the return of the amount of $590,000 and GHC2.79 million to Cecilia Dapaah within seven days.
It further directed the unfreezing of her Prudential and Societe General Bank accounts. The ruling emphasized the need for solid evidence and proper legal procedures when seizing assets and freezing bank accounts, ensuring that individuals are not unfairly targeted.