A High Court in Accra has ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to return the GH¢444,000 that was seized from the former Minister of Communications, Mrs. Cecilia Dapaah, within seven days.
The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botchway, gave the order on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, after it found that the OSP had no basis to seize the money.
The OSP had frozen the money in Mrs. Dapaah's account as part of its investigations into allegations of corruption against her. However, the court found that the OSP had not provided any evidence to support the claim that the money was proceeds of crime.
The court also found that the OSP had violated Mrs. Dapaah's right to property by seizing the money without a court order.
In its ruling, the court said: "The respondent (OSP) is hereby ordered to, within seven days of the delivery of this ruling, refund the sum of GH¢444,000 to the applicant (Mrs. Dapaah)."
The court also ordered the OSP to pay Mrs. Dapaah's legal fees in the sum of GH¢10,000.
The OSP has not yet commented on the court's ruling.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the court ruling:
The OSP was found to have no basis to seize the money from Mrs. Dapaah.
The OSP was found to have violated Mrs. Dapaah's right to property by seizing the money without a court order.
The OSP has been ordered to return the money to Mrs. Dapaah within seven days.
The OSP has been ordered to pay Mrs. Dapaah's legal fees.
This is a significant ruling, as it sets a precedent for how the OSP should conduct its investigations. The ruling also sends a message that citizens have the right to property and that the OSP cannot seize their property without a court order.