April 12, 2024

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has accused the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, of using his power to cover-up the complicity of officials of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the illegal mining (galamsey) trade.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, Lawyer Sammy Gyamfi punched the AG on his advice on a comprehensive report put together by the former Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee Against Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Prof. Frimpong Boateng.

The AG, who advises the government on legal issues, has stated categorically that the much-hailed report by the former Minister for Environment, Science and Technology lacked evidence for prosecution purposes.

However, the NDC strongly disagreed with the Attorney-General’s legal opinion, saying it had been nothing but a poor attempt to provide cover for all those who were implicated in the comprehensive report.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the claims by Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame that there is no evidence to substantiate the damning revelations contained in the 36-page Frimpong Boateng galamsey report are simply false,” he stated.

Supposed incontrovertible evidence

The NDC further discredited the Attorney-General’s opinion and labelled it as part of coordinated efforts to exonerate officials of the government from facing the law for their crimes in the illicit business.

“There are ample pieces of evidence in the public domain that go to confirm several of the damning findings in the Frimpong Boateng galamsey report,” Sammy Gyamfi indicated.

He cited a documentary by Joy News, titled “Forest under Siege”, which, he claimed, contained incontrovertible evidence that confirmed the assertion by Prof. Frimpong Boateng.

The said documentary clearly illustrated how Emmanuel Donald Enstuah’s C&J Aleska, now Imperial Heritage Limited, under the guise of prospecting, engaged in illegal mining in the Kobro section of the Apamprama Forest reserve in the Amansie area of the Ashanti Region.

Elaborating further, he stated that sometime in 2018, the anti-galamsey taskforce arrested and seized about thirty excavators and mining equipment belonging to the company for engaging in illegal mining in the Kobro Forest.

“At the time of the seizure of their equipment, the company had destroyed about 1,000 hectares of the forest when all the company had at the time was a prospecting license,” he stated.

Adducing more evidence from the known facts to discredit the AG, the NDC alleged that it had been established beyond every reasonable doubt that Akonta Mining Limited entered and operated in the Tano Nimiri Forest reserve in breach of the mining and environmental laws.

The fact to this claim, according to the NDC, was confirmed by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources publicly in a press statement dated 30th September, 2022.

In Samreboi where Akonta Mining is said to have a mining lease, evidence captured on tape shows that the company had been mining very close to the Tano River in breach of the 100-metre reserve threshold of the Minerals Commission.

As a matter of fact, the company had been found to have redirected and polluted the Tano River heavily, but the big name behind the crime walked around freely after polluting the Tano River through illegal mining operations.

Disappearance of seized excavators

As part of interventions to stop the galamsey menace which has destroyed several water bodies and forest reserves, a taskforce named Operation Galamstop was formed.

The taskforce seized a lot of excavators which were mainly used for the devastation and massive destruction of water bodies, but the seized equipment suddenly found their way into the forest again.

Giving details of this strange development, the NDC stated that persons in positions of trust and influence criminally sold or took money and released the equipment for further destruction and damage.

The NDC pointed out that the former Central Regional Security Coordinator, John Ofori Atta, used a journalist as a contact person to criminally release the seized excavators to the miners at a fee.

The journalist was said to have confessed in a statement to the police that the miners were directed by John Ofori Atta to pay between GH¢50,000 and GH¢55,000 into his bank account at NIB to influence the anti-galamsey taskforce to release the seized excavators.

The said journalist further indicated that all the monies paid into his bank account were withdrawn by him and paid to the Central Regional Security Coordinator, John Ofori Atta.

In the report that the AG has described to be mere hearsay without concrete evidence, Prof. Frimpong Boateng furnished the police with the bank statement of the said NIB account belonging to the journalist.

Alleged involvement of MR. ALBERT JOSEPH QUARM in the illegal sale of mining concessions

The NDC further stated that the former Member of Parliament for Manso Adubia, Mr. Albert Joseph Quarm, was hugely complicit in the illegal sale of mining concessions in the Ashanti Region.

The former Ashanti Regional National Disaster Menegement Organisation (NADMO) head and former 1st Regional Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party in the Ashanti Region, Mr. Kwabena Senkyire, has publicly given details of Mr. Quarm’s involvement.

In an interview on Kumasi-based Sompa FM, Kwabena Senkyire recounted how Mr. Albert Quarm approached him and asked that he provide him with his company certificate for a mining concession.

Mr. Senkyire went on to say that, after supplying Mr. Quarm with his company certificate, he was called by the Minerals Commission one day and given documents pertaining to the ownership of a mining concession.

To his surprise, the same concession, which was formerly registered in the name of his company, was alleged sold by the former Legislator to one “Agya Wusu” without his consent.

Kwabena Senkyire further averred that he officially reported the matter to the police, National Security and the Office of Special Prosecutor and was willing to testify to same.

“Did the oolice or Attorney-General invite Mr. Kwabena Senkyire or consider his testimony on this matter before coming to the conclusion that the Frimpong Boateng galamsey report is bereft of evidence?

“Ladies and gentlemen, our intel from our reliable sources within the Ghana Police Service shows that no serious action has been taken by the police on this important matter,” he stressed.

“In the face of this corroborative testimony; a confession by a willing witness who is readily identifiable and available, how can the Attorney-General say that there is no evidence to buttress the findings contained in Frimpong Boateng’s galamsey report relative to the alleged sale of mining concessions by Albert Quarm?” he queried.

Sammy Gyamfi wondered why Godfred Dame deferred the prosecution of the culprits in the aforementioned matter under the guise of further investigations by the police in the face of such smoking gun evidence.

In the face of the stated glaring evidence, the party said, it was preposterous for the Attorney-General to assert that there was no evidence to substantiate the damning assertions contained in Prof. Frimpong Boateng’s “galamsey” report.

The party was worried about the kind of evidence any reasonable prosecutor would need to prosecute John Ofori Atta and all those involved in the stolen/missing excavators.

These, Sammy Gyamfi said, were indisputable facts and the weight of such evidences could not be glossed over by any impartial investigator or prosecutor.

He, therefore, called on the Attorney-General to tell Ghanaians about the outcome of this investigation, if any, and how, as AG, he had worked with the police to thoroughly investigate this matter in the interest of the public.

The collective survival of Ghanaians as a people, he stated, was at stake, following the continuous plundering and destruction of our lands, forests and water bodies by government officials and party apparatchiks.

The country, he maintained, was fast losing its flora, fauna and water resources, while the citizens were fast becoming endangered species due to the greed and selfishness of a few government officials who recklessly engaged in illegal mining with impunity.

“We cannot sit aloof and allow this canker to fester. If we close our eyes to the evil going on, we shall all bear the consequences of the actions of these miscreants who are destroying our water bodies, lands and forests in search of gold to satisfy their greed,” he said.

Attorney-General must resign

The NDC, therefore, demanded the immediate resignation of the Attorney-General for his alleged dubious attempt to cover up serious crimes that had been perpetrated against the state by corrupt government officials.

“More importantly, we wish to call on the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Kissi Adjabeng, to expedite his investigations into this matter, and to immediately prosecute all those found culpable,” the SP was urged.

 

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