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'All is not lost yet' - Martin Kpebu surprised at ruling defreezing Sir John's assets

Lawyer Martin Kpebu Martin Kpebu

Thu, 14 Jul 2022 Source:

Special Prosecutor goes after Sir John’s assets

OSP investigating corruption in final Will and Testament of ex-NPP scribe

Kissi Agyabeng to appeal ruling of High Court

Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has stated his surprise at a ruling by the courts that the Special Prosecutor could not continue to freeze the assets of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, alias Sir John.

An Accra High court earlier this week ruled that the anti-corruption czar could not continue to freeze assets of the former New Patriotic Party, NPP, scribe.

Kpebu's surprise emanated from the fact that he expected all properties of the late Sir John to have been embargoed amid a probe, he, however; added that all hope was not lost yet.

“Definitely, it is surprising because, I think a lot of us took it for granted that the application was just going to be granted, that is to say, the assets will be frozen for the longer period of the investigation and possible prosecution.

“So, it is really surprising that this ruling has gone the other way. But that is how legal processes sometimes go, all is not lost yet. It is good that the Special Prosecutor has indicated that he is going to appeal, so let us see how it goes,” he said in a March 12 interview with TV3 News.

An Accra High Court dismissed a request by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng, to extend his power to freeze the assets of the late Sir John.

The Special Prosecutor announced that the assets had been frozen pending investigations into allegations of unlawful acquisition of state lands.

The OSP stated that it was investigating suspected corruption and corruption-related offences including the alleged improper and unlawful acquisition of state property at the Achimota Forest enclave and the Ramsar catchment at Sakumono in Accra, as stated in late Sir John’s will.

The investigation follows a petition by Corruption Watch, a coalition of anti-corruption civil society organisations, including the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), the Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) requesting the Special Prosecutor to investigate the acquisition of state lands in the Achimota Forest and the Ramsar area in Sakumono by three companies and two individuals as captured in the Last Will and Testament of Sir John.

The companies are Jakaypros Limited, Fasoh Limited and DML Limited, while the individuals are Charles Owusu and Sir John.

The Special Prosecutor then filed processes in court to extend this order.

According to a report, “Section 38 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, Act 959, empowers the Special Prosecutor to direct the freezing of assets if he holds the view that it is necessary for investigations. He is then required to apply to a court within fourteen days for a confirmation of the freezing order.”

It was based on this that the SP headed to court but the High Court however took the view that the Special Prosecutor should have initiated the process under Section 54 of the Act.

This provision deals with the procedure where a person dies or absconds. This empowers the SP to make a request for confiscation of such property.

The SP has protested the ruling and announced he will be appealing it.

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