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OSP, FBI partnership in Dapaah case brings interesting dynamics to Ghana’s criminal jurisprudence – Banson



The collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the United States of America (USA) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in the matter of former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources Cecilia Abena Dapaah brings interesting dynamics to Ghana’s criminal jurisprudence, international laws, and treaties that Ghana and the US are signatories, private legal practitioner, Bobby Banson, has said.

He asked whether a Ghanaian court can restrain the FBI from taking certain actions relative to the investigations.

The investigations, according to a note from the OSP will primarily focus on examining assets and financial transactions within the US.

In the note released by the OSP on Wednesday, October 11, this is “to ascertain the lawfulness of Ms. Dapaah and her associates’ wealth, both in the context of their funds transitioning from Ghana to the United States and vice versa”.

Speaking on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Wednesday, October 11, Mr Bobby Banson said “It is an issue of an international treaty that relates to mostly anti-money laundering collaborations and related financial crimes.

“There is an international treaty that Ghana is a signatory to that requires states that are signatories to that treaty, in this instance, Ghana and the United States, the security agencies will collaborate when there is evidence that money that is subject of investigation of money laundering or proceeds from money laundering found its way into the other jurisdictions.

“So, if, I in Ghana engage in money laundering activities and I use the funds to acquire properties in the United States it is possible the security agencies in Ghana will collaborate with security agencies in the United States, in this instance, the FBI to help them trace the assets and recover it and then bring them back, I think there is a percentage ratio,  to the host country for the benefit of the public. So yes it is in line with it.”

Asked what dynamics this new twist of the FBI collaboration brings to this case, Bobby Banosn answered “It makes it very interesting because there is an application for an injunction to restrain the OSP from further investigating Madam Cecilia Dapaah and her husband in respect of the matter in the public space now.

“Now, the question is whether or not a Ghanaian court can make an order if the FBI is investigating her, can we make the order to restrain the FBI? If the FBI formally requests the OSP office to assist with the investigation, tracing assets an all of that, whether the Ghanaian court order will have precedent over the international treaty obligations of Gan and its implications. I think it brings a lot of  interesting dynamics in both the criminal jurisprudence and the issues of international law and treaty obligations between states.”

The FBI, OSP partnership came barely a day after lawyers of the former Sanitation Minister filed an affidavit at the Human Rights Division of the High Court, seeking an interlocutory injunction on investigations being conducted by Ghana’s OSP.

The former Bantama MP had described as “unfair, unreasonable, capricious, arbitrary and ultra vires” the re-seizure of her monies and re-freezing of her accounts and property.

“I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that to prevent further violation of my constitutionally guaranteed rights and rendering my application for judicial review otiose, it is imperative that the Respondent is restrained from continuing his investigation pending the determination of my said application,” her affidavit in response to OSP’s suit prayed.

The OSP aside its suit in investigating corruption and corruption-related offences against Madam Cecilia Dapaah had charged her for failing to declare her income upon a lawful demand.

But, according to the OSP, she failed to do so after 30 days contrary to Section 69(1)(a) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017, Act 959.

“As at close of business on 5 October 2023, the Accused had willfully failed, without lawful excuse, to return the duly completed statutory forms to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, more than thirty (30) days after the service of the notice and forms to her.”

The former minister is expected to file a response to this charge.

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