Former Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah, has described the application of the special prosecutor to confirm a freeze and seizure order against her properties as an attempt to perpetuate arbitrary exercise of power based on misrepresentation of facts and resultant media frenzy.
Her lawyers made this known when they opposed the application on Thursday.
Lawyers of the anti-corruption agency and the former sanitation minister on Thursday argued before Justice Edward Twum on whether the orders for seizure and freezing of the properties should be confirmed.
The Director of Prosecutions at the Office of the Special Prosecutor, Dr. Isidore Tufour argued that the order is in line with the office of the Special Prosecutor ACT (959) to prevent the concealment of a property believed to be tainted with corruption.
The confirmation application by the office of the special prosecutor is aimed at seizing $590,000 and GHC 2,730,000 found in her home upon a search of three houses associated with her.
On this, Dr. Tufour revealed in court that Cecilia Dapaah could not explain how she came by the funds and the ownership of the allegedly stolen monies is in dispute.
For the lawyer, these justify their application for confirmation of the seizure order. He contended that the office suspects the monies found to be tainted with corruption.
Lawyers for Cecilia Dapaah, led by Victoria Barth on the other hand argued that the application for confirmation was brought in contravention with the procedure outlined in the office of the special prosecutor ACT.
She contended that the office of the special prosecutor ACt 959 in section 32(2) mandates the office to bring the application for confirmation within seven days after the seizure. She argued that the instant application was filed after the seven days had elapsed.
Victoria Barth further argued before the court that the fact that substantial amounts were found in the home of her clients does not justify the seizure of the property. It is her view that the applicant has not shown any grounds to prove that the monies found are tainted.
The special prosecutor’s office is also seeking to freeze the bank accounts of the former sanitation minister at Prudential Bank and Societe General. The lawyers of the anti-corruption contended that for their plea to be granted the court has to satisfy itself if the respondent is being investigated for corruption which they believe to have fulfilled.
Dr Tufour argued that there is no requirement for them to show grounds for suspicion that the accounts are tainted.
He argued that the lawmaker under ACT 959 ‘did not provide that requirement to provide grounds for the freezing’
But lawyers of Cecilia Dapaah argued that the mere fact that their client is being investigated for corruption is not enough grounds for her accounts to be frozen.
According to her, the special prosecutor ACT requires the applicant to demonstrate reasonable grounds for believing that the property is tainted property and not just a mere assertion of the fact.
She argued that ‘there is no basis to suspect that the monies in respondent’s accounts are tainted property especially when banks are routinely required on a daily basis to report suspicious transactions.’
The Judge after hearing the two sides adjourned the case to August 31 to deliver his ruling on the matter.