OSP’s petition for removal of judge: The Fourth Estate seeks answers from Chief Justice

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The Fourth Estate has filed an information request to the office of the Chief Justice, Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo (Mrs), to demand answers relating to the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s (OSP) petition for the removal of Justice Edward Twum, who has been handling cases brought before the court by the OSP.

This follows claims by the host of ‘Good Evening Ghana’, Paul Adom-Otchere, on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, that the pending request by the OSP for the removal of the judge hearing the former Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah’s case had been withdrawn.

The OSP had petitioned the Chief Justice to remove the presiding judge, Justice Twum, on the confirmation application against the seizure and freezing of the property of the former Sanitation Minister.

However, on October 18, 2023, Justice Twum sat on the case on grounds that the request for the recusal and removal had been withdrawn.

When the case was called, Justice Twum confirmed to Victoria Barth, lawyer for Ms Dapaah that he had been notified that the OSP had withdrawn the petition.

Graphic Online’s report further said few minutes later, Justice Twum retired to his chamber.

Later, he announced that he had been informed that the petition was still pending.

Lawyers for Ms Dapaah, led by Victoria Barth, reportedly said media reports indicated that the petition had indeed been withdrawn. This is despite the fact that the comment was made on only one media channel, Metro Television.

The OSP in court and through a press release,  however, denied writing to the Chief Justice  to withdraw such a petition.

The issues that have arisen as a result of these court proceedings have prompted The Fourth Estate to file a request to the head of the judicial service.

The following are the specific pieces of information The Fourth Estate requested for in a letter that was delivered to the Chief Justice today, October 23, 2023:

  1. Whether the OSP has written to withdraw the petition for the replacement of Justice Edward Twum.

2. Whether the Chief Justice has communicated to the judge about the alleged withdrawal of the case and asked the judge to proceed to hear the cases.

3. Whether there has been a determination of the matter by your office.

Millions of cedis in Minister’s home

The OSP initiated an investigation into the activities of the former Sanitation Minister after allegations of corruption were tied to the discovery of millions of Ghana cedis and foreign currencies in her home.

This followed court proceedings revealing how huge amounts of money stashed in her home were stolen by her domestic staff.

The OSP and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have launched inquiries into the activities of Ms Dapaah and her associates.

In a social media post, the OSP said: “The Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) @USEmbassyGhana have initiated concurrent inquiries into the activities of Cecilia Abena Dapaah, the former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, and her associates.”

In response to an affidavit filed by the OSP seeking confirmation of a new seizure of funds, Ms Dapaah denied any assertion that the monies and assets seized from her residence were of suspicious origin.

Ms Dapaah’s assets were frozen but the OSP has since revoked the freezing order for five of the frozen bank accounts while other assets remain frozen.

 

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