The Special Prosecutor (SP), Mr Kissi Agyebeng, has said that Ghana will lose the fight against corruption if the decision of the Accra High Court not to confirm the freezing of late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie’s assets is allowed to stand.
The Accra High Court presided over Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe on Tuesday dismissed an application seeking to confirm the freezing of Mr Afriyie’s assets.
But Mr Agyebeng in a statement issued and signed after the ruling, said “If this decision is left to stand, the Republic will lose the fight against corruption in unimaginable ways.
“The judge, with respect, totally misapprehended the application for confirmation of the freezing order and misdirected herself by characterising the application as that of a confiscation order, which regimes are governed by different considerations.”
The SP, has, therefore, served notice to appeal against the decision at the Court of Appeal, saying “the Special Prosecutor did not apply for confiscation of the estate of the deceased.”
Mr Agyebeng has directed the filing of an appeal against the ruling of the High Court.
He said the regime for an application for confirmation of a freezing order was designed to facilitate an investigation or a prosecution to avoid dissipation of the property in question.
“The net effect of the ruling of the High Court is that a person may, in his lifetime, gleefully acquire property through corruption and then upon his demise happily pass on the corruptly acquired property to his beneficiaries for their benefit and by so doing, extinguish all scrutiny as to the propriety or otherwise of the acquisition of the property because his corrupt activities were not discovered during his lifetime.”
Mr Agyebeng said in spite of the ruling, investigations into the estate of Mr Owusu Afriyie would still proceed.
On May 30, 2022, the Special Prosecutor directed the freezing of the estate of Mr Afrivie.
On June 9, 2022, the Special Prosecutor applied to the High Court for a confirmation of the freezing order.
He asked for the freezing order to be confirmed to facilitate the investigation into the circumstances of the purported acquisition by the deceased of protected land in the Achimota Forest enclave and the Sakumono Ramsar site.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA