A 2021 report on the work of the defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), has alleged a concerning cover-up scheme that involved private legal practitioner Gabby Otchere Darko.
The scheme was reportedly aimed at shielding those responsible for harmful mining practices in the Krobo and Apaprama Forest reserves.
The report indicates that President Akufo-Addo was informed about the cover-up scheme and vowed to take action.
However, it is not clear if the President has followed through on his promise to “deal with it”.
This revelation has raised important questions about the government’s commitment to protecting Ghana’s natural resources and preserving the environment for future generations.
Lawyer Gabby Otchere is a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and cousin of president Akufo-Addo.
According to the Prof a call from the lawyer insisted that he gave a company the permit to engage in illegal mining.
The former minister stated that Gabby who was supposed to assist the president was rather the one encouraging the illegal activity.
Meanwhile, the lawyer has denied that he had interfered in the work of the IMCIM.
According to Gabby he called the then- minister to inquire about his client, a business that held the necessary permissions to mine in the country.
“We were ready to dislodge Heritage Imperial Limited, a company that was destroying the Krobo and Apaprama Forest Reserves and in the process had also polluted and diverted the course of River Offin as can be seen in the satellite images below. I informed the President about the behaviour of Mr Gabby Asare Otchere Darko and he promised to deal with it.
“Heritage had a mining exploration permit issued in July 2019, a forest entry permit issued in November 2018, and also an EPA permit yet the soldiers went and seized the equipment of Heritage and so I called the soldiers and was told that it was the Minister who had sanctioned them and so I asked the Minister what the issue was with the equipment seizures and the Minister said they were prospecting and not exploring and that was the conversation that we had,” he added.
The 37-page report was prepared in 2021 and handed over to the Chief of Staff.
According to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, some NPP leaders paid Chinese citizens to participate in galamsey on their behalf.
“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 the National to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers or relatives engaged in illegal mining,” the report said.
“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,” he added.
The Professor served under President Akufo-Addo in his first tenure in office.
He headed the committee established by President Akufo-Addo in March 2017 to combat unlawful small-scale mining.
Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs, Regional Re-Organisation and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Water and Sanitation, Interior, Defense, and Information are some of the ministries that made up the Committee.
The Committee’s duties included regulating and sanitizing small-scale mining operations in the several mining regions to make sure that miners adhere to the law.
However, the Committee was disbanded soon after the 2020 presidential election.
Source: The Independent Ghana