Saturday, 8 February 2020

Betrayal of the poor citizen under disguise of illegal mining fight (part 1)



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Adnan Adams Mohammed


At the upheave of the illegal and small scale mining in Ghana which brought many negative impacts on the lives of some people, water bodies, forests, farms and child labour and exploitation, some concerned citizens and international bodies kicked against the exploitative mining sector which forced the government of Ghana to heed to the call and set up an inter-ministerial taskforce to stop the illegal and small scale mining. 


This, also, denied millions of cedis of those who were engaged in mining as a means of livelihood and economic power. But to the surprise of many Ghanaian and the international community, the top government officials including ministers who pretend to be protecting the poor were rather engaged in the illegal and small scale mining while selling the excavators seized from the poor citizens and some Chinese miners at absurdly cheap price as low as GHC50,000 (US$9,500) to their New Patriotic Party loyalist and friends, according to a leaked tape shared by one of the top-officials of the ruling party.


"I have video recordings of all the people. I did the illegal mining (Galamsey; as called in the local parlance)  with. John Boadu (National General Secretary of NPP), Prof Frimpong Boateng (Minister of Environment, Science and Technology and also the chairman of the inter-ministerial taskforce to end illegal), Chairman Wontumi (Ashanti Regional Chairman of NPP), Kojo Oppong Nkrumah (Minister of Information) etc.


"I won't go down alone. Even if I have to release the video of my meeting with the President, I will do that. We agreed to operate Galamsey to finance the party so why are they trying to sacrifice me? Is it because I am not Akyem? We will all go down", said Horace Ekow Ewusi, NPP Vice Chairman for Central Region who was first arrested by the Ghana Police Service in connection to the alleged missing 500 seized excavators. 
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Horace Ekow Ewusi


This, having brought serious indictment to the ruling government has forced the President of Ghana, Nana Akuffo Addo to authorize the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Ghana Police Service to arrest names of the ministers and top government officials mentioned in the leaked tape through a press release signed by Director of Communication at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin.


"The President took this decision after having watched the trending video of the minister in a conversation with the first vice-chairman of the NPP in Central region, over how some seized excavators were to be sent to 'galamsey' (illegal mining) sites own by one " Wontumi"", the statement said.


"It is the expectations of the President that all the excavators will be located and retrieved from the 'galamsey' sites were they are currently being used in the search for gold", the statement added. 

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Prof Frimpong Boateng


But, unfortunately, the President is not concerned with illegal mining these officials are engaged which has destroyed the environment and water bodies making it difficult for Ghana Water Company to treat and supply good drinking water to citizens within the mining catchment areas.


In a more revealing account, another accused person narrated, “I worked with the Central Regional Security Coordinator, John Ofori Atta a.k.a Commando as his errand boy and part of the team Galam Stop. In the course of the operation, I became the contact boy for the miners whose excavators had been seized. The miners pay between GHS50, 000 and GHS55, 000 into my account at NIB to influence the team for the seized excavators to be released. I then inform the team about the payment of the monies into my account, which I withdraw and give to Mr Ofori Atta who then give some to Mr Ekow Ewudzie of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.”

“I can estimate so far that we have released close to between 270 to 300 excavators undercover but the money paid to my accounts have all been withdrawn and given to Mr Ofori Atta a.k.a Commando”, Seth Mantey, a reporter with Peace FM, a local radio popular station.


This confirmed the dubious dealings the top government officials were involved under the disguise of fighting the poor citizens in illegal mining.


An owner of one of the missing excavators, Michael Boateng is still in shock as to how his heavy-duty equipment was sold but made to believe that the equipment was been used “for party [NPP] work” at an unknown destination.


“My excavator had to travel from Obuasi when it was seized by the government taskforce to Accra. I followed it to Accra with all documents to retrieve it and that was when I heard of Ekow Ewusi as the man in charge of all seized excavators and other equipment,” he narrated in an interview with NEAT FM’s, a local radio station in Accra. 


Michael Boateng, however, alarmed that, he went through ‘hell’ in an attempt to get back his excavator.


“I was even willing to pay any amount for it,” he said – adding that “my friend paid as much as GhC55,000 to retrieve his own.”


Boateng who is still searching for his excavator, also claims that “When the task force raided my home, they drove away from my Pickup truck and the number plate has been changed by Ekow Ewusi who is using it now.”
  
Before this unfounded events clearly giving evidence to the long-standing rumours of government officials engaged in illegal mining despite the government's public 'window dressing' of fighting it, there was a journalistic undercover exposé by Anas Aremeyaw Anas which captured a top official at the Jubilee House (seat of President), Charles Bissue, who was caught bribing the joint military and police operation team to be allowed to do his illegal mining somewhere last year.


However, the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police which investigated the, Charles Bissue, the former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining cleared him of any wrongdoing or corruption, despite the Special Prosecutor's, Martin Alamisi BK Amidu, opposition to the CID to undertake such investigation.


The CID cleared Charles Bissue after it concluded its four-month investigation into Tiger Eye PI’s allegations levelled against him.


According to Daily Graphic reports, a report clearing Bissue from the allegations stated that, the documentary which showed him taking money from undercover reporters was not a true reflection of what transpired between Bissue and the assigns of the said ORR Resource Enterprise.


The report also stated that Anas Aremeyaw Anas failed to cooperate with the CID in the course of the investigations.


The raw and unedited footage which was demanded by the CID from the journalist was not submitted.


Anas, however, stated in a reaction that, he had submitted the said raw and unedited footage to the office of the Special Prosecutor. To the extent that the Office of Special Prosecutor is a statutory body and has taken possession of the raw footage, if the police investigators were minded, they could obtain a copy from the OSP.


The Special Prosecutor in a letter to oppose the investigation by the CID stated, "the decision of the Police CID to investigate a presidential staffer, despite his opposition, is political."


He said, he had written to the police and copied the Interior Ministry as well as the seat of government, the Jubilee House, on the matter.


Charles Bissue's name has come up again in the narration of Prof Frimpong Boateng, who said, he was introduced to Ekow Ewusi by Charles Bissue. This gives credence to the Anas investigative footage. 

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