Dr. Abdul-Razak Alhassan, Senior Lecturer in Strategy and International Business at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, is perplexed as to why Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who was once named caretaker Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection, would hire a 17-year-old as a house help.
The lecturer, who is also the Policy Research Lead and Deputy Executive Director at the Centre for Public Opinion and Awareness (CenPOA), believes the matter goes beyond a scandal and must be thoroughly investigated.
He was perplexed as to how a 17-year-old juvenile could afford a 70,000-dollar house with no one scrutinising the source of the funds.
“Also, as a minister previously in charge of the gender ministry, what was a 17-year-old doing as her house help? How could a girl of that age buy a $70,000+ house in this country without having to prove the source of that money? What does it say about our conveyancing system? It is for this reason that the real estate sector is considered a sector for money laundering, etc.”
He said that as a policy think tank, we can only talk about what we know and what has been reported, hence our call for further investigation into the matter.
He stated that the amount of money being alluded to as having been kept at home is troubling, to say the least. This is a report that is akin to what is normally attributed to drug barons in movies who keep large sums of money with them, ready to flee when trouble looms. I’m not sure what the minister is planning to flee from.
Secondly, it speaks to the issue of unexplained wealth generally and its implications for corruption in the country. Public officers are expected to declare their assets, and we know what they earn in their roles as public officials.
He noted that to then have built unexplained wealth or having these huge sums of money at home that’s then stolen and not immediately detected raises serious concerns that ought to be investigated at the very least by the anti-graft agencies.
In other countries, such as the UK, there is an unexplained wealth order that could compel anyone showcasing unexplained wealth to reveal the sources of such wealth.
We need such laws in the country to ensure we are tackling problems of this nature, which are common among our political class,” he argued.
“Thirdly, the government’s mantra of digitalization of the economy and taunting the success of this is being brought to its knees when senior government officials who should live what they preach are found going against the very things they encourage citizens not to do. For example, efforts are being made to promote electronic payment systems across the economy, thereby taking away physical cash, which the government and the central bank spend huge sums of money to print.
Furthermore, the government has complained of not having forex and therefore has encouraged citizens to keep their money at the banks, only for a senior government minister to be found with such huge amounts of foreign currency at home. Was this withdrawn, and for what purpose? These are all issues only further investigation into the matter can ascertain, and this should not take time to do.”