According to Mr. Joe Jackson, Chief Operations Officer at Dalex Finance, Ghana needs a civil forfeiture statute similar to the one in the United States to address concerns resulting from the case involving former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources Cecilia Abena Dpaah.
Civil forfeiture permits the government (often the police) to confiscate any property that is allegedly connected to a crime or criminal behavior, and then either keep it or sell it.
Owners can have their cash, automobiles, or even real estate permanently taken away by the government without ever being detained or found guilty of a crime.
Mr. Jackson wrote in a tweet: “In the USA, CIVIL FORFEITURE is when law enforcement authorities remove assets from those who are suspected of engaging in illicit conduct without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing. A similar regulation might be required in Ghana to address the problems caused by Cecilia Dapaah’s event.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) searched Cecilia Dapaah’s home as part of an inquiry into her decision to store a significant sum of money at home.
This came after she was taken into custody by the OSP on Monday, July 24. OSP officers are questioning her, according to a statement.
“Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who resigned from her position as minister of sanitation and water resources on July 22, 2023, was placed under arrest at 11:55 GMT on July 24, 2023, by the Office of the Special Prosecutor in connection with suspected corruption and crimes related to corruption involving sizable sums of money and valuable items purportedly taken from her home. Authorized OSP personnel are questioning Ms. Dapaah, the OSP stated in the statement.
On Saturday, July 22, less than 24 hours after learning that some foreign currency had been taken from her bedroom, Madam Cecilia Dapaah submitted her letter of resignation to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
She promised in her letter, “I intend to collaborate fully with all the governmental agencies to enable them fully establish the truth.
She continued, “I have no doubt that at the conclusion of the proceedings it will be proved that I have behaved myself with integrity during my time in public service and that I will be completely exonerated from all the claims.
According to reports, Madam Cecilia Dapaah kept $1 million, €300,000, and untold amounts of Ghanaian cedis at home.
Two house helpers are accused of stealing these funds, and they are presently on trial at an Accra Circuit Court.
She had before claimed that the facts and the public reports were inconsistent.
She claimed in her letter of resignation that the numbers in the public domain do not accurately reflect the information she and her husband provided in their statement to the police.
The former lawmaker, however, admits she understands the import of such stories around someone of her stature.
“I am resigning, therefore, because I do not want such a matter to become a preoccupation of government and a hindrance to the work of government at such a crucial time.”