A former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Abdulai Bistav Fuseini, has indicated that the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has been an act in futility considering the purpose for which it was birthed and its modus operandi.
The statement buttresses that of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin who made a similar comment about the Office in Parliament in 2023.
According to Mr Fuseini, the New Patriotic Party’s 2016 manifesto was explicit on the inability of the Office of the Attorney-General to prosecute members of the ruling government since the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice is a member of the cabinet.
However, the Act which established the OSP in 2017 is inefficient in making the Special Prosecutor (SP) realise the core purpose for which the Office was created since it derives its powers from the Attorney-General.
He explains that since the buck stops with the Attorney-General in prosecuting cases after investigations have been completed by the OSP and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the problem the Office sought to resolve, still persists.
“The very reason according to the 2016 manifesto of the NPP that the Office of the Special Prosecutor was created was the perception that the Attorney-General will not prosecute his own people,” he said.
His comments come on the back of the Cecilia Dapaah matter which the OSP has handed over to the EOCO, the organisation under whose remit the case better sits.
Speaking with Alfred Ocansey on Ghana Tonight Thursday, January 25, 2024, the former legislator said “it’s an unfortunate development that we expended a lot of resources, time and labour to create the office because we thought that the Attorney-General being a member of cabinet, might not be able to prosecute these whole matters of corruption. And that’s why we created the Office of the Special Prosecutor against the interference and manipulations by the Attorney-General. Once the Attorney-General, has gone back full circle and investigates the matter and conclude that money laundering is involved, it’s the Attorney-General who will prosecute.”
“So, where have we gone to, where have we arrived? What were we running away from? I think that this is quite an unfortunate development,” he stated.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor said its investigations into the Cecilia Dapaah matter so far, indicate that the case borders on money laundering, which is outside its mandate.
“The investigation shows that the case is largely in the province of suspected money laundering and structuring. By operation of law, there are other law enforcement agencies which are reposed with a direct mandate in respect of money laundering and structuring. On that score, the Special Prosecutor will issue directives and further action on the matter in due course,” portions of the second half-year report of the OSP dated December 29, 2023 read.
It would be recalled that in July 2023, the Office commenced investigation in respect of suspected corruption and corruption-related offences regarding large amounts of money (mainly in foreign denominations) and other valuable items involving Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, a former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources and her spouse, Mr. Daniel Osei-Kufour.
The investigation was largely aimed at determining the source (s) of the large cash sums. The Office took several steps including freezing Ms. Dapaah’s bank accounts and investments and seizing large sums from the residence of Ms. Dapaah and her spouse.
Upon the refusal by the High Court to confirm the freezing and seizure orders, the Office re-seized the cash sums and re-froze the bank accounts and investments and applied to the court again for confirmation in FT0074/2023 The Special Prosecutor v. Cecilia Abena Dapaah & Daniel Osei-Kufour.
From October 2023, the investigation became cross-border and transboundary upon the claim by the persons of interest that part of the seized cash sums was transported into the jurisdiction from the United States.
For that reason, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States became involved in a collaborative investigative work with the OSP on the matter. In October 2023, the Special Prosecutor revoked the freezing order in respect of five (5) bank accounts of Ms. Dapaah, which were eliminated from the focus of the investigation as no longer suspected to be tainted property.