Special Prosecutor probes 75 cases

BY: Suleiman Mustapha
Special Prosecutor probes 75 cases
Special Prosecutor probes 75 cases

The Special Prosecutor (SP), Kissi Agyebeng, his office has slated over 75 cases for investigations and prosecution.

Giving an account of the status of the cases he had been pursuing after one year in office in an official statement issued last Monday, Mr Agyebeng, the office had 75 cases under investigations.

So far, he said, two cases were pending before the criminal courts, one at the High Court, while the rest were at advanced stages of investigations.

Adjenim Boateng Adjei & another

On May 18, 2022, a former Chief Executive of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei, was charged with eight counts of using public office for profit and nine counts of directly and indirectly influencing the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract.

His brother-in-law was also charged with one count of using public office for profit.

The accused were put before the High Court, Criminal Division, Accra on May 25, 2022.

The trial is ongoing.

Alexander Kwabena Sarfo-Kantanka

On May 24, 2022, the President’s nominee for the position of Municipal Chief Executive for Juaben in the Ashanti Region, Alexander Kwabena Sarfo-Kantanka, was charged with 26 counts of corruption in respect of a public election.

He was put before the High Court, Criminal Division, Kumasi on June 1, 2022.

The trial is ongoing.

Labianca and Customs Division

From November 2021 to July 2022, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) investigated a complaint of alleged ongoing corrupt, illegal and questionable dealings between Labianca Company Limited and the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), resulting in the unlawful markdown or reduction of benchmark values of frozen food products imported by Labianca Company Limited under the guise of customs advance rulings.

The investigations concluded that the decision to render a customs advance ruling to Labianca by reducing the values of its intended imports between five and 10 per cent below the benchmark values was wrong and unsupported by the requirements of the law for the issuance of customs advance ruling.

There was strong evidence to suggest that the decision was a product of influence peddling or trading of influence by the owner of Labianca, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, at all material times a member of the Council of State and member of the Governing Board of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

The report indicted Joseph Adu Kyei, the Deputy Commissioner of the Customs Division in charge of Operations, for bending over backwards to render the unlawful decision, and Col Kwadwo Damoah (retd), the Commissioner of the Customs Division, for placidly coddling the actions of Mr Kyei.

The report concluded that the conduct of the investigated officers portended an institutionalised culture of lighthearted unconcern regarding impropriety of action at the Customs Division, which indicated a high propensity to engender corruption and corruption-related activities; and that the officers ignored mandatory provisions of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) and engaged in their own predilections.

The investigation led to the first recovery by the OSP — GH¢1,074,627.15 — on March 31, 2022.

Ongoing investigations

Investigations into alleged bribery by Airbus SE, a European multinational aerospace corporation, in respect of the sale and purchase of military aircraft for the Republic of Ghana are ongoing.

The OSP is engaged with INTERPOL and the central authorities of the United Kingdom and the United States under the mutual legal assistance regime.

Banking sector crisis

On January 25, 2022, the SP announced the commencement of investigations into the banking and financial sector crisis that precipitated the collapse of some banks and financial institutions and the financial sector clean-up and recapitalisation reforms.

The investigations target alleged corruption and corruption-related offences perpetrated by some officials of the Bank of Ghana, banks, specialised deposit-taking institutions and financial holding companies.

Recruitment of Cadet officers

On March 17, 2022, the SP announced the commencement of investigations into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of the recruitment exercise of Course 51 of Cadet Officers Training at the Ghana Police Academy.

The investigations targeted specific cases of alleged corruption and corruption-related offences involving the use of office for profit, abuse of office, abuse of power, favouritism, nepotism, victimisation and the selection of unqualified persons.

Estate of Sir John

On May 26, 2022, the SP announced the commencement of investigations in respect of alleged improper acquisition of state protected land at the Achimota Forest enclave and the Sakumono Ramsar site by the deceased former Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, alias Sir John.

On May 30, 2022, the SP directed the freezing of the estate of Sir John. On June 9, 2022, the Special Prosecutor applied to the High Court, Financial Division, Accra for a confirmation of the freezing order.

On July 12, 2022, the High Court refused the application. On July 19, 2022, the Special Prosecutor filed a Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, Accra against the decision of the High Court.

Northern Development Authority

On June 30, 2022, the office commenced investigation into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of a contract awarded by the Northern Development Authority to A&Qs Consortium for consultancy services under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme, especially in respect of the quantum of the contract sum.

On July 1, 2022, the Special Prosecutor directed the Controller and Accountant General to immediately freeze payments arising from the contract.

Other cases

The Office is also investigating 70 other cases at various levels of consideration. This is expected to be published once the Special Prosecutor determines that they are within the mandate of the Office and that they should be moved past the preliminary investigation stage.