A former Ghanaian Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who resigned over the weekend after her houseworkers allegedly stole more than $1 million in cash from her home, has been arrested for suspected corruption, a special prosecutor said on Monday.
Dapaah has denied any crimes, but the case drew criticism from Ghana’s opposition, which questioned why a minister had such large amounts of cash in her house.
Special prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng said Dapaah was placed under arrest on Monday “in respect of suspected corruption and corruption-related offences regarding large amounts of money.”
Ghana’s special prosecutor’s office deals with cases of corruption involving public officials, judges or senior political party members.
The arrest came as President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government deals with the country’s worst economic crisis in years, which has pushed Ghana to seek a $3 billion loan from the IMF.
Akufo-Addo’s ruling NPP party is preparing for primaries later this year to choose its candidate to run in next year’s election.
In her statement on Saturday, Dapaah handed in her resignation, saying she did not want to be a “hindrance” to the government, but rejected reports of such large amounts of cash at the family home.
“I am resigning therefore because I do not want this matter to become a preoccupation of government and a hindrance to the work of government,” Dapaah said.
According to court documents, the two domestic workers face charges of stealing $1 million, 300,000 euros and millions of local Ghanaian cedis, as well as clothing. from a bedroom last year.
Akufo-Addo on Sunday accepted the resignation and applauded the former minister for her loyalty and “devotion”, his spokesman said.
But former Ghanaian leader John Dramani Mahama, who is the opposition NDC candidate for the 2024 election, described the incident as “scandalous”.
“$1m + €300k and millions of GHS in a Ghanaian Minister’s home? Scandalous!! Even if genuinely acquired, why keep millions of hard currencies at home?” He wrote on his Twitter account.
“Will Akufo-Addo ever set a good example for public office holders in his administration?”
A good governance advocate, Baffour Agyeman-Duah, has called on the ombudsman to probe the case.
“A lot is going through people’s minds,” he told AFP. “It involves a high-ranking public official so the Office of the Special Prosecutor must take it up just to clear any doubts.”