A former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has gone to town with names of several New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials at the Jubilee House accused of actively involved in illegal small-scale mining called “galamsey” despite President Nana Akufo-Addo’s promise to put his Presidency on the line and fight the menace .
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, even mentioned President Akufo-Addo’s trusted cousin, Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko, as acting as lawyer for one of the companies involved in the Galamsey called Heritage Imperial Limited.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, the then Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) constituted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2017 to lead the fight against galamsey in the country, was sacked from his role in March 2020.
Details on why he was sacked were not made public. He was kicked out at a time some excavators seized during the galamsey fight went missing.
He has maintained that his exit from the Science and Technology Ministry was a grand scheme orchestrated by the government and the NPP who were neck deep in the galamsey business.
The respected heart surgeon in a signed 37-page report disclosed that some NPP bigwigs had engaged the services of Chinese nationals to engage in galamsey on their behalf.
He indicated that these MPs and government officials were either directly involved in galamsey or were using their power to protect relations who were involved in the menace.
The document, which the German-trained medical practitioner addressed to the Chief of Staff and the Ghana Police Service, implicated the former MP for Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm; director of operations at the presidency, Laud Commey; executive assistant and head of social media at the presidency, Charles Nii Teiko; and Frank Asiedu Bekoe, also “Protozoa” a director of political affairs at the Office of the Chief of Staff.
“He (the former NPP MP) used his position as a member of the Minerals Commission to acquire several dozens of large-scale concessions in his district, ostensibly for community mining purposes. He ended up selling these concessions to private individuals, including party members for GH¢2000 per concession.
“Throughout our struggle with illegalities in the small-scale mining sector, what baffled me was the total disregard of the president’s commitment to protecting the environment. I can state without any equivocation that many party officials from the national to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers, or relatives engaged in illegal mining. Most of them engaged Chinese working for them.
“There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace. Examples are Laud Commey, Charles Nii Teiko, and Frank Asiedu Bekoe (Protozoa),” parts of the report read.
The report also indicated that members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had also acquired several mining concessions, especially in the Western Region.
“In the Wassa East District, a former NDC Deputy Minister who is also MP for the Wassa East constituency has been actively mining in the Subri forest for years,” the report also stated.
The late ex-NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (aka Sir John) was actively giving out timber concessions, even in forests reserves for logging.
He also gave forestry entry permits to mining companies, both large and small scale, including those of foreign nationals for prospecting activities at a time when the President had put a ban on that activity.
Through Charles Owusu, the Director of Operations at the Forestry Commission, Sir John had Chinese gangs doing mining on his behalf.
The issue about rose wood exploitation is something that is beyond the scope of this report.
I remember that at a meeting in the conference room of the President, I told the President in the presence of Sir John that the greatest danger to the forests of Ghana was Sir John.
Throughout our struggle with illegalities in the small-scale mining sector, what baffled me was the total disregard of the President’s commitment to protect the environment.
I can state without any equivocation that many party officials from National to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers or relatives engaged in illegal mining.
Most of them engaged Chinese working for them.
I am not referring to party people who had their legitimate concession and were mining sustainably as they were instructed to do.
There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace.
Examples are; Laud Commey, Charles Nii Teiko, and Frank Asiedu Bekoe (Protozoa)
When NPP took over in 2017, all MOUs were cancelled and C&J Aleska hired armed macho men to provide security.
Residents in the communities bordering the forest reserves complained that they could not enter the forests around to “cut woma to pound their fufu with”.
They could not go through the forest to their farms.
They were beaten by Chinese who had acquired concessions from C&J Aleska.
There were credible reports that on many occasions Chinese miners slapped Ghanaians, including women and children, with the broad side of machetes.
The IMCIM organized its task force and conducted a complex operation to dislodge Donald Entsuah and his C&J Aleska from Diaso forest.
The jubilation in the communities around the concessions was ecstatic.
Naturally, Donald Entsuah and his friend were not happy with what the IMCIM did. I, in particular, came under severe attack. A fierce attacker was Kweku Baako, a journalist who personally called me to inform me that the managers of C&J were his friends.
Mr. Kweku Baako published unsavoury things about me at the time. Having been dislodged from Diaso Mr. Donald Entsuah formed another mining company called Imperial Heritage and managed to get concessions in the Kobro and Apaprama forests in Amansie Central District from the Forestry Commission.
Using satellite imagery we have followed the activities of Imperial Heritage over the years till date.
The damage caused in the forest is many times greater than what happened in Diaso.
We were ready to dislodge Imperial Heritage from Kobro forest when Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko called to inform me that he was the lawyer for Heritage Imperial Limited, a company that was destroying the Kobro and Apaprama Forest Reserves and in the process had also polluted and diverted the course of the River Offin, as can be seen in the satellite images below.
I informed the President Akufo Addo about the behavior of Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere Darko and he promised to deal with it.
“Most of them engaged Chinese working for them. I am not referring to party people who had their legitimate concession and were mining sustainably as they were instructed to do. There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace.”
The report added that an NPP MP in the Ashanti Region used his position as a member of the Minerals Commission to acquire several dozens of large-scale concessions in his district, ostensibly for community mining purposes.
According to the report, he ended up selling these concessions to private individuals, including party members for two hundred thousand Cedis per concession.
“This infuriated the party in the constituency so during the 2020 primaries to select a candidate the electorate voted against the sitting MP, who was more resourced than other candidates. Although there were allegations that he “camped” delegates and attempted to bribe them, he lost to a lesser known individual who did not have any financial muscle.”
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng in the report also cited instances when leading NPP officials served as legal counsels for persons accused of involving in galamsey and destroying the environment and water bodies.
The former Minister for Environment said he put together the report dated March 19, 2021, following an order from the Chief of Staff.
He, in the report, also accused a reporter of engaging in unlawful excavator sales and money laundering at the behest of some government appointees.
Prof Frimpong Boateng subsequently disclosed that his exit from the Science and Technology Ministry was a grand scheme orchestrated by the government and the NPP.
Prof. Boateng intimated that the allegations of some 500 missing excavators seized from persons engaged in illegal mining activities in 2020 were untrue and made up stories by some persons in government to tarnish his reputation in order to chase him out of office.
He disclosed that there were people in government that wanted him out because of his stance on illegal mining activities in the country.
Prof. Boateng disclosed that the very beginning and actions of military personnel deployed to effect the arrest of illegal miners triggered the entire falsehood about him being responsible for the missing excavators at the time.
“The true story is that at the start of Operation Vanguard, the soldiers were supposed to arrest the excavators, but they will go into the forest and removed the control boards of the excavators and come back to report but when they went away, the owners will come with different control boards and move the excavators away.
“So the soldiers reported that they had immobilized over 700 excavators, and so we appointed someone to go round and check but when we went round, we found only about 150 to 200 excavators, the rest had been moved away.”
He further stressed that “there was an orchestration within the party and the government to get me out and when I left galamsey activities increased. Now things are coming up, and we know those who are doing galamsey even within the party and even people at the Jubilee House.”