Home » AG Declares No Basis for Money Laundering Probe Against Cecilia Dapaah

AG Declares No Basis for Money Laundering Probe Against Cecilia Dapaah

EOCO Advised to Halt Investigation Due to Insufficient Evidence, Following In-depth Review by Attorney General’s Office

by Adenike Adeodun

The Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice in Ghana has advised the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) that there is no substantial basis for initiating money laundering investigations into the financial dealings of former Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah. This guidance stems from a detailed review of the investigative docket, which lacked conclusive evidence linking Dapaah to any criminal or corruption-related offenses.

The controversy began when the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) suspected potential money laundering after more than 1 million dollars were discovered in Dapaah’s residence. This led to a request for EOCO to delve into the matter. The OSP had engaged in extensive investigations, collaborating with international bodies such as the FBI, to determine the source and legality of the funds.

In a formal letter to EOCO dated April 25, 2024, the Attorney General’s office meticulously outlined its findings and reasons for advising against further investigative actions. It noted that the OSP failed to provide EOCO with a comprehensive report of its findings, nor did it respond to EOCO’s request for the same. The documents furnished to EOCO by the OSP comprised merely procedural correspondences and statements without evidencing any actionable criminal conduct.

The Attorney General’s office further scrutinized the contents of the docket provided by the OSP. This included the OSP’s initial letter transmitting the docket, a diary of actions taken during their investigation, various statements recorded, and letters the OSP had dispatched to other institutions like the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and banks for further inquiries. However, despite this extensive procedural documentation, there was a conspicuous absence of direct evidence linking Cecilia Dapaah to corruption or deriving benefits from unlawful activities.

The letter from the Attorney General stressed the importance of establishing a clear connection between financial gains and criminal proceeds to pursue a money laundering investigation effectively. It explicitly stated: “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.”

Moreover, the Attorney General advised against EOCO probing the origins of Dapaah’s funds, highlighting that the CID had already been tasked with this aspect of the investigation. This directive was to prevent duplicative efforts and jurisdictional overreach, as the CID was already seized with the matter following prior instructions from the Attorney General’s office.

This development raises significant questions about the coordination and efficiency of investigative processes among Ghana’s anti-corruption agencies. While the OSP had initially taken action by retrieving money and other properties during its investigations and subsequently discharging the suspects, its inability to conclusively determine the legality of Dapaah’s assets has led to an anticlimactic pause in the proceedings.

The case, which has captured national attention due to its implications for public integrity and governance, reflects broader challenges in the fight against corruption in Ghana. It underscores the need for greater clarity in the mandates of various investigative bodies and improved inter-agency cooperation to ensure that investigations are thorough, evidence-based, and conclusive.

The Attorney General’s decision not to pursue further action based on the current evidence could be seen as a commitment to legal precision and procedural justice. However, it also highlights the complexities and difficulties in tackling high-profile corruption cases, where definitive proof is paramount to uphold justice and maintain public trust in governmental institutions.

As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact the broader landscape of anti-corruption efforts in Ghana and whether further investigations might eventually bring new information to light, altering the course of this high-stakes inquiry.

Source: Graphic Online

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