The Accra High Court has ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to return the seized cash of Former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah and her spouse, Daniel Osei-Kufour.

The Office has 72 hours to release the cash and also unfreeze the bank accounts and invest­ments of the couple, who were under investigation for suspected corruption and corruption related offences.

This follows the OSP’s deci­sion to discontinue its application for a confirmation of the seizure and freezing orders as well as terminate the procedural criminal charge against Ms Dapaah for failure to return forms on declara­tion of property and income.

The Special Prosecutor (SP), Kissi Agyebeng, who made this known at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said the OSP had discontinued the case be­cause it was referring same to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for continued investigation and further action.

He said after seven months of in-country and four months of collaborative trans-boundary investigation, the totality of the gathered evidence and intelligence, suggested that the case was largely in the province of suspected mon­ey laundering and structuring.

Agyebeng said “by operation of law, the EOCO has a specific and direct mandate in respect of suspected cases of money laun­dering and its attendant activity of structuring,” assuring that the office would continue to collabo­rate with EOCO and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The OSP’s investigation into the matter, which commenced on July 2023, was triggered by a com­plaint filed by Ms Dapaah and Mr Osei-Kufour to the police against four persons, including their former house-help, on an allega­tion of the theft of large sums of money from their residence.

The complaint lead to criminal proceedings in the Circuit Court, in Accra, that between July and October 2022, the accused alleged­ly stole valuable items from the residence of Ms Dapaah and Mr Osei-Kufour at Abelemkpe, Accra, including One million dollars and €300,000.

The OSP said the initial complaint to the police recounted that $800,000 of the amoun­treportedly stolen belonged to Ms Dapaah’s deceased brother and GH¢300,000.00 was contribution towards Ms Dapaah’s mother’s funeral.

According to the SP, there was no indication as to the source of the remainder of US$200,000 and €300,000.

Agyebeng said on the basis of the case and the totality of the criminal intelligence gathered and

 the large sums of money phys­ically stashed at the residences of the couple, the office directed full investigation into corruption and corruption-related offences involving the two.

He said this was on suspicion that the cash sums were suspected tainted property as being proceeds from corruption and corrup­tion-related offences.

The OSP said upon fur­ther search of the houses of the couple, $590,000.00 and GH¢2,730,000 were found, but they could not readily provide a reasonable explanation as to the sources of the cash sums.

The office said extensive inves­tigation was conducted in-country to establish the financial standing of Ms Dapaah’s deceased brother during his lifetime.

From October 2023, the investigation became cross-border and trans-boundary involving the FBI upon the claim by the persons of interest that part of the seized cash sums was transported to Ghana from the United States.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR