Cecilia Dapaah: No basis for OSP’s request for money laundering probe-Attorney-General

The Office of the Attorney-General (A-G) and Ministry of Justice has advised the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO)?not to initiate investigations on money laundering regarding Madam Cecilia Dapaah, a former Sanitation Minister. According to the A-G, Office of the Special Prosecutor's (OSP) referral of the case to EOCO for investigations into money laundering was baseless. Also, there was absence of the identification of any criminality associated with the properties retrieved from the suspects. A letter signed by Evelyn D. Keelson, Chief State Attorney, addressed to the Executive Director, EOCO, said a study of the docket from the OSP and the report by their office indicated that investigations by the OSP did not establish any evidence of corruption, corruption related offences, or procurement breaches against the suspects. 'The OSP has returned money and other properties retrieved from the suspects in the course of their investigations to them and the suspects have been accordingly discharged by the OSP. 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.' The letter said it was 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. It said a study of all the documents on the docket submitted by the OSP did not disclose how the offence of money laundering and structuring might have been committed, as alleged by the OSP The letter said after the OSP had stated that it had conducted 'seven months of extensive investigations and four months of collaborative investigation' concluded that 'the case is largely in the province of suspected money laundering and structuring'. 'It is noted, however, that the OSP did not present a copy of the report on the collaborative investigations conducted with the FBI to your outfit. Neither are the findings of the 'transboundary investigations' conducted by the OSP stated in the OSP's docket to you. 'We observe that by a letter dated February 1, 2024, you wrote to the OSP to furnish you with a copy of the findings on the case to facilitate your investigations. You inform us that, to date, the OSP has not responded to your request. 'Sections 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044) create offences relating to money laundering. At the outset, it is important to indicate that the offence of structuring is not known to Ghana laws. 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 status of property being proceeds of crime is, therefore, crucial to money laundering. This is even so under section 55(2) of Act 1044 where an accused may be presumed to have unlawfully acquired property in her possession which cannot be accounted for. In any event, to is material to note that section 55(2) of Act 1044 is triggered only in the course of a trial of an accused person for a specified offence under the Act.' Source: Ghana News Agency