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Let’s fight corruption despite limitations in the law – GII Boss on Cecilia Dapaah’s case

The Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Mary Addah, has asked state agencies including the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Attorney-General’s Department, responsible for fighting corruption, to work to tackle the menace despite the limitations in the law.

She noted that aspects of the anti-corruption laws such as the one on ‘he who alleges must prove’ makes the work of the anti-corruption agencies difficult but that should not stop them from acting.

Her comments come after the Office of the Attorney-General advised EOCO not to initiate any move to investigate money laundering in the dealings of the former Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah.

Upon a request for advice by EOCO on the matter, the Attorney-General’s office, in a letter dated April 25, 2024 and copied to EOCO, said it found that the OSP did not submit the report on its collaborative investigation to EOCO.

Additionally, the office noted the OSP has not responded to EOCO’s request for its findings.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the docket presented to EOCO only contains the OSP’s letter transmitting the docket, the diary of action, statements taken during the investigation, and letters written by the OSP to other institutions like the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and banks for inquiries.

Speaking on the GhanaTonight show on TV3 Thursday May 2, Madam Mary Addah said “If the fight against corruption is to gain any traction then our actions and inactions must also follow suit. We know we are working within certain ineffective regimes and limitations there off and but the impression should not be created that we are creating every opportunity to ensure that people get away with wrong. It is not surprising admittedly I must say but it is sad that this is what is happening.”

Asked what EOCO could have done differently instead of going to the Attorney-General for advice, she answered “If you look at the EOCO law what surprises me within that is the fact that we have a dispensation where issues around financial crimes and issues around criminality generally are supposed to be dealt with by EOCO. But Unfortunately, in this case, we see that the Office of the Special Prosecutor decided that EOCO would be best placed to do this because they had done other investigations which have shown that there was a likelihood of money laundering in this case. So they should do further interrogations into this process. Hence, if you look at the anti-money laundering Act section one, it speaks specifically to this, it says ‘where a person under investigation for money laundering is in possession or control of property which the person cannot account for and which is disproportionate to the income of that person from known sources that person shall be deemed to have committed an offense under subsection’.

“It also then gives EOCO the opportunity to do a lifestyle audit, in the recent past we have heard a lot of it and we need to see this lifestyle audit being activated a lot more. Because of the dispensation within which we operate where he who alleges must prove we know that the burden of proof if it is shifted, could help us a lot, and so this particular law is restrictive but in this instance, it is very good because we are talking about money laundering, I am not sure why EOCO did not initiate this from the very beginning that since a lot of money had been discovered from the SP angel the person who was accused refused to fill their forms and within the limited remit of the law the OSP took it to court and it was thrown out.

“Then that meant that EOCOC had the hopes of the people of Ghana to uphold. Unfortunately, I do not know what happened but I am very sure that perhaps something is being done in this case and I hope that as the advisory concludes, other agencies are also working don’t this and EOCO will revisit this issue to address it very adequately.”

3news

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