COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah

Have you asked yourself why, for the first time in the history of a state investigation into a suspected crime, the three agencies - Attorney General’s Department, Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) - are disagreeing with each other so disrespectfully in public? Why has it become so critical for Ghanaians to be told which agency is to blame for Cecilia Dapaah’s being left off the hook?

In July 2023, the media reported that $1 million, €300,000 and several millions of Ghana cedis had been stolen from the home of the then Minister. Before I continue, it is important to establish that Ghanaians do not necessarily hate this lady; what we hate is for any agency to make us feel that in addition to our hunger, we are also stupid; that is the feeling that swept over me as I listened to the head of EOCO on TV on Monday night.

But I refuse to be fooled: what we see as an inter-agency turf war looks staged, to me. I am unable to avoid the feeling that we are being made to overlook or forget a certain big picture.   

First, the OSP drops the corruption charge against the former minister and asks EOCO to investigate her for money laundering. On May 1, the AG advises EOCO against continuing with the money laundering probe. In announcing that it has washed its hands off the matter, the EOCO boss points a finger at OSP, suggesting incompetence.

Hear COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo Dankwa: “It’s like we don’t even know what we are looking for. So, what I’m going do is that with the A-G’s advice, I will send the docket that we received from the OSP to him that there is nothing for us to do.”

Wounded, the OSP countered. On the radio last Tuesday, its rep bore holes – gaping holes – in EOCO’s positions and exonerated itself. By the close of Tuesday, the impression was that the case against the former Minister was in tatters, a “foolish case”.

Yours truly is not a lawyer so I won’t raise a legal point. It is curious, however, as the OSP points out, that on that Monday when Maame Tiwa was threatening to return the docket to OSP, she had already returned it long ago! 

That is when I began to smell a rat. Is this a charade? How come all three agencies have abandoned the investigation? What about the angle of “Unexplained Wealth”, that has been canvassed by private legal brains and think tanks?

Article 286(4) of the 1992 Constitution states that “an asset declared to have been acquired while in public office, which is not reasonably attributable to income, gift, loan, inheritance or any other reasonable source shall be deemed to have been acquired in contravention of this Constitution.”

I don’t need a single day at the Law Faculty to be told what to do with a person who has unexplained wealth: take him/her to court to explain the sources of their wealth.

In a haze, I see officials of three state agencies dancing on strings. It is not a fact that the strings are necessarily being pulled by an invisible hand; it is a fact that it had its genesis in President Akufo-Addo’s very first reaction to the case on July 24, 2023, when, in his letter accepting the resignation of Cecilia Dapaah, he expressed confidence that “like you, at the end of the day, your integrity, while in office, will be fully established.”

Case Number Two: the Akonta Mining case.

In September 2022, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources directed the Forestry Commission to halt operations of Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western North Region. The mining site belongs to the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, aka Chairman Wontumi.

However, addressing the Catholic Bishops Conference and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association at Koforidua on January 4, 2023, the President all but absolved Akonta Mining from any wrongdoing.

 “I want to assure him and all of you that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any illegal activities in any part of the country as we speak,” he pronounced. Meanwhile, the Media Coalition Against Galamsey insisted there was substantial evidence to prosecute the directors of the mining firm for their alleged engagement in illegal mining.

Why is Yours Truly’s concerned? Simple: a powerful Executive President should not wade into any case involving criminality. It paralyzes action by public servants in our peculiar African political environment where dismissed workers go home to “chew stones”.

Given this history, senior state officials, knowing that their continued stay in office is at the pleasure of an Executive President, will keep watching over their shoulder and “think twice” lest they be reported for countering the word of the President.   

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.