The Office of the Special Prosecutor says it is investigating 70 new corruption-related cases which are yet to be made public.
According to the OSP, the cases are at various levels of consideration and would be publicised if the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng determines that they are within the mandate of the Office and that they should be moved past the preliminary investigation stage.
“This is a policy intended to protect the privacy of individuals and the business operations of institutions and companies, and to avoid unnecessary stigmatisation,” according to the first half-yearly report released by the office.
Recently, the OSP announced that it has recovered over GH¢1 million from Labianca, a poultry imported company.
Prior to that, it mentioned its investigations into corruption allegations against former Public Procurement Authority boss Adjenim Boateng Adjei as some of the cases considered by the anti-graft body.
The office has also discontinued investigations into a case against MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea and Agri-Plus Horizon farms over lack of evidence.
Shockingly, what is missing in the report is the Special Prosecutor’s recent decision to probe the issuance of customs advance rulings and markdowns of benchmark values between July 2017 and December 2021 after citing Labianca Company Limited for corruption-related acts.
Per the report, the Special Prosecutor said he will direct the opening of a preliminary enquiry or investigation where he determines that the matter is within the mandate of the Office, saying that “Where sufficient information is gathered, the Special Prosecutor will direct the initiation of a full investigation.
“The Special Prosecutor will proceed to institute criminal proceedings where he determines that the Office has probative evidence to meet the standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt.”
Meanwhile, there were no convictions or acquittals in respect of the cases pending before the criminal courts.
Below are the various cases handled by the Office during the period under reference:
Cases Under Prosecution
MSFT/23/2019 The Republic v. Mahama Ayariga & Another
This case was pending before the High Court, Financial Division, Accra against the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and another. The Special Prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi on 11 October 2021. The Special Prosecutor explained to the Court that upon further scrutiny of the available evidence the Republic would be unable to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt on the allegation of abuse of public office for private gain.
CR/0492/2022 The Republic v. Adjenim Boateng Adjei & Another
On 18 May 2022, the former Chief Executive of Public Procurement Authority was charged with eight (8) counts of using public office for profit and nine (9) 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 (1) count of using public office for profit. The accused were arraigned before the High Court, Criminal Division, Accra on 25 May 2022. The trial is ongoing.
D13/01/22 Alexander Kwabena Sarfo-Kantanka
On 24 May 2022, the President’s nominee for the position of Chief Executive of Juaben Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti Region was charged with twenty-six (26) counts of corruption in respect of a public election. He was arraigned before the High Court, Criminal Division, Kumasi on 1 June 2022. The trial is ongoing.”
Besides the abovementioned cases, the OSP mentioned cases which investigation has been concluded such as “Agri-Plus Horizon Farms Limited.
On 9th December 2019, the Financial Intelligence Centre transmitted an Intelligence Report to the Office on the allegation that Ghana Cocoa Board sole sourced a contract to Agri-Plus Horizon Farms Limited on the ground of nepotism and/or trade-based money laundering.
But in February 2022, the Office terminated the investigation for lack of evidence, adding that “It was also established that the suspected nepotism was a case of mere coincidence of names and/or mistaken identity.”
Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea
In July 2022, the Office terminated investigation into a complaint of alleged financial malfeasance filed against the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South for lack of evidence. The complainant admitted that he filed the complaint without any basis and that he was paid to fabricate the content of the complaint. The complainant and his accomplices are under investigation for filing the complaint with the singular aim of tarnishing the reputation of the respondent.
Labianca Company Limited and Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority
From November 2021 to July 2022, the Office investigated a complaint of alleged ongoing corrupt, illegal and questionable dealings between Labianca Company Limited and the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority resulting in unlawful markdown or reduction of benchmark values of frozen food products imported by Labianca Company Limited under the guise of customs advance rulings.
The investigation concluded that a decision to render a customs advance ruling to Labianca Company Limited by reducing the values of their intended imports between a range of 5% – 10% below the benchmark values was wrongful and unsupported by the requirements of the law for the issuance of customs advance ruling. And that there was strong evidence to suggest that the decision was a product of influence peddling or trading of influence by the owner of Labianca Company Limited, Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, at all material times a member of the Council of State and a member of the Governing Board of 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 (Rtd.), the Commissioner of the Customs Division, for placidly coddling the actions of Mr. Adu Kyei.
The report concluded that the conduct of the investigated officers portends an institutionalised culture of lighthearted unconcern regarding impropriety of action at the Customs Division – which indicates 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 Office – in the sum of One Million Seventy-Four Thousand cedis Six Hundred and Twenty-Seven cedis Fifteeen pesewas (GHC1,074,627.15) on 31 March 2022.
On the aspect of the Airbus SE Investigation over alleged bribery by Airbus SE, a European multinational aerospace corporation, in respect of the sale and purchase of military aircrafts for the Republic is ongoing. The Office is engaged with INTERPOL and the central authorities of the United Kingdom and the United States under the mutual legal assistance regime.
Banking and Financial Sector Crisis
On 25th January 2022, the Special Prosecutor announced the commencement of investigation 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 investigation targets 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 to Cadet Officers Training at the Ghana Police Academy
On 17th March 2022, the Special Prosecutor announced the commencement of investigation 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 target specific cases of alleged corruption and corruption-related offences of the use of office for profit, abuse of office, abuse of power, favouritism, nepotism, victimisation and the selection of unqualified persons.
Estate of Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie alias Sir John
On 26th May 2022, the Special Prosecutor announced the commencement of investigation 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.
On 30th May 2022, the Special Prosecutor directed the freezing of the Estate of Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias Sir John (deceased).
On 9th June 2022, the Special Prosecutor applied to the High Court, Financial Division, Accra for a confirmation of the freezing order. On 12 July 2022, the High Court refused the application. On 19 July 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 30th June 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 (IPEP), especially in respect of the quantum of the contract sum.
On 1st July 2022, the Special Prosecutor directed the Controller and Accountant General to immediately freeze payments arising from the contract.
The OSP also indicated that it is also looking at the case involving government officials in the Airbus scandal.
By Vincent KubiRead Full Story