The legal representatives of individuals who have been arrested in connection with the alleged money theft case involving Cecilia Abena Dapaah, the former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, have expressed concerns regarding their clients’ inability to meet the requirements for their bail bonds.
An Accra Circuit Court has granted bail to four out of the seven accused persons in this case. Mr. Augustine Gyamfi, who served as legal counsel for Sarah Agyei, the second accused individual, conveyed that their clients were not deliberately avoiding complying with the court’s bail conditions; rather, they were encountering difficulties in interpreting and meeting those conditions.
Consequently, the legal team sought a modification of the bail terms and resubmitted their bail application. The court, presided over by Mrs. Afia Owusua Appiah, advised the lawyers to formally file applications for bail variation while providing comprehensive information about the proposed sureties.
The court also recalled instances where individuals, upon being granted bail, had absconded, highlighting the importance of prudently handling such cases. Earlier, the court had instructed the Registrar of the Family and Juvenile Unit to furnish the court with the record of proceedings pertaining to Patience Botwe, the first accused person, within seven days. This was to determine whether she had already been granted bail by the Family and Juvenile Court.
The court emphasized the need for a professional approach to the matter and underscored its commitment to upholding the rule of law, despite external pressures. It pointed out that multiple allegations had been made, and public sentiment should not sway the legal proceedings, as people’s lives were at stake. The court urged the lawyers to prioritize the legal process over public sentiment in their handling of the case.
The trial judge made this statement in response to Mr. Raymond Felli, who was serving as counsel for Yahaya Sumaila, urging the court to instruct the prosecution to refrain from seeking adjournments and to provide clarity on the case.
Shortly after the judge’s remarks, Mr. Felli issued an apology and retracted his comments against the prosecution.
Following these developments, the court proceeded to grant bail to Malik Dauda, the fourth accused in the case, setting the bail amount at GHC100,000 and requiring two sureties to substantiate their ability to meet the bail conditions. Additionally, the sureties were mandated to reside within the court’s jurisdiction.
The prosecution, led by Akosua Agyapong Agyeman, a State Attorney, explained that the investigators had already submitted the case file to the Attorney General’s (AG) office but had not yet received a response. She expressed her intention to follow up on the matter with the AG’s office and requested the court to instruct the defense counsel to formally present the bail variation for her to address.
Patience Botwe and Christiana Achab, both nursing mothers, along with Job Pomary and Malik Dauda, have been granted bail in this case. However, Sarah Agyei, Benjamin Sowa, and Yahaya Sumaila have not been admitted to bail. Additionally, Franklin Sarakpo is reportedly at large. All of the accused individuals are facing a total of eleven charges related to alleged theft of money and items from the former Minister’s residence.
These charges encompass six counts of stealing and five counts of dishonestly receiving stolen property. Earlier, the prosecution, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Emmanuel Nyamekye, indicated that the fact and charge sheets had been amended.
Meanwhile, the court has discharged Kwaku Botwe, who is the father of Patience Botwe, also known as Maabena. The prosecution has noted that one of the accused, Franklin Sarakpo, remains at large.
The complainants in this case are Mr. Daniel Osei Kufour and his wife, Mrs. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who reside in Abelemkpe, Accra. According to the prosecution, the first accused, Patience Botwe, worked as a house helper for the complainants, while the second accused, Sarah Agyei, was unemployed and had previously worked as a house helper for the couple.
The third accused, Benjamin Sowah, was romantically involved with Patience Botwe, the fourth accused, Malik Dauda, was the former boyfriend of the first accused, and the fifth accused is Christiana Achab, a trader. The court learned that the sixth accused is Job Pomary, who is the husband of the fifth accused, and the seventh accused, Yahaya Sumaila, is an excavator operator residing in Sagnarigu, Tamale Metropolis. Franklin Sarakpo, the eighth accused, is the son of the fifth accused and is currently evading arrest.
The prosecution has explained that the police initiated investigations after the complainants reported the theft of their cash and personal belongings in June 2023. These investigations led to the apprehension of the first and third accused individuals at their hideouts in Tamale, Northern Region. During a search of their premises, the police discovered $40,000 and GHC7,619.70.
The prosecution added that further investigation revealed that when Mr. Kufour returned home from town in October of the previous year, he noticed that their bedroom had been opened and heard unusual noises in the house. Upon entering the room, he encountered the first accused hiding behind the storeroom door with duplicate keys to the master bedroom.
Subsequently, the complainants realized that money and personal items had been stolen from the room. During police interrogation, the first accused confessed to giving $70,000 of the stolen money to the fifth accused to purchase a three-bedroom property in Amrahia, as well as various brand-new items that were later recovered from the house.
The case has been adjourned to October 3, 2023, for further proceedings.