Full ruling: OSP’s confirmation order for Sir John’s asset freeze fell short of Act 959, Act 804 thresholds - Court

"The one condition for the grant of such an application which is however absent here, is that no warrant was issued for the arrest of the late Sir John before his death. That one condition not being met is the bane of the case of the Applicant,” the ruling stated.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

The High Court(Financial and Economic Division) has released its reasoned ruling on the Office of Special Prosecutor’s (OSP) application for confirmation of the order freezing suspected tainted property of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias Sir John. 

The Estate of the late Sir John was frozen by the Office of the Special Prosecutor to conduct further investigation into allegations of suspected corruption after a report by journalists at the Fourth Estate showed that his Will contained portions of the Achimota Forest land and the Sakumono Ramsar site. 

The OSP subsequently filed an application at the High Court for confirmation of the freezing order. However, that request was dismissed by the Court on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

In the 22-page ruling released on July 14, the court held that the application fell short of the threshold of there not having been a pending charge against, or warrant for the arrest of the deceased person (Sir John) before his demise.

Referring to Sections 54(1)(a) of Act 959 and 56 of Act 804, the court presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe made the finding that the Respondents’ assertion that the death of Sir John per se barred any attempt at freezing or confiscating his alleged tainted assets is misconceived.

The court also stated that the OSP on its part should have shown an envisaged provision by the statute that, “the alleged tainted property which is sought to be frozen or confiscated was the subject of an investigation or other proceedings for which reason a warrant was issued for the arrest of the person alleged to have committed the corruption or corruption-related offense before the death of that person.”

Also citing the case of The Executive Director, EOCO v Alfred Kwame Ayivor, in which the deceased’s successors-in-title were properly held to be before the court in confiscation or forfeiture proceedings because he had already been arrested and charged for a predicate offense of money laundering, the court was of the view that the proper persons to have been cited by the OSP would have been those under the right conditions and circumstances.

The court then held that irrespective of the fact that investigation and everything ancillary to it including confiscation and forfeiture of assets can survive the demise of a person alleged to have been involved in corruption or corruption-related offenses, the OSP’s application fell short because no warrant was issued for the arrest of the late Sir John before his death.

Read the full ruling below;