Former Minister of Environment, Science, and Technology, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has claimed that Ghana’s efforts to address illegal mining activities popularly known as “galamsey” came to naught due to actions of some personalities.
According to him, individuals and institutions mandated by the law to protect the environment failed to do so and rather worsened the situation when he was minister.
From 2017 to 2020, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng said institutions such as the Lands Ministry, Minerals Commission and Forestry Commission neglected their responsibilities.
In his report, he revealed some individuals who allegedly caused mayhem to the environment through direct or indirect means.
Below is the list of personalities who are allegedly behind the current state of the country’s environment:
- Gabby Otchere-Darko
Mr Otchere-Darko who is a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is alleged to have phoned Professor Frimpong-Boateng to defend a company that was actively destroying the environment, especially the forests and River Offin in the Apaprama and Kobro Forests.
This claim has been rejected by Mr Otchere-Darko, who says he engaged the professor to seek information on his client (Heritage) – a company that had permits to mine.
- The late Sir John (Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie)
Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said, 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.”
According to him, he referred to Sir John as the greatest danger to the forests in Ghana in the presence of the president.
- Charles Owusu
Mr Charles Owusu, referred to as the Director of Operations at the Forestry Commission in the report allegedly helped Sir John acquire Chinese gangs to mine. He was also mining a forest reserve without any permit and destroying forests, farm lands, water bodies and the entire biodiversity.
- All members of the IMCIM (except Joseph Kofi Adda and Akwasi Oppong Fosu)
The Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) which was rolled out by President Akufo-Addo in 2017 to fight illegal mining was allegedly abandoned by a number of its members.
According to Prof Frimpong Boateng, the following names contributed to its collapse: Peter Amewu, then Lands and Natural Resources Minister (MLNR); Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, former Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs Minister; Dan Botwe, who was the then Regional Re-Organisation and Development Minister; Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, the previous Monitoring and Evaluation Minister; former Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu; Ambrose Dery, the Interior Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, the Defense Minister and Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah.
- Joseph Albert Quarm
Joseph Albert Quarm, the former MP for Manso Nkwanta, allegedly 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 member for two hundred thousand Cedis per concession,” the report added.
- Laud Commey, Charles Nii Teiko and Frank Asiedu Bekoe
The trio, said to be appointees at the Jubilee House, are accused of supporting illegal mining activities by interfering with investigations.
- Isaac Adjei Mensah
According to Professor Frimpong Boateng, the former Wassa East MP, has been actively mining in the Subri forest for years.
- Mr S.K. Boafo
The former Chairman of the Minerals Commission Board is said to have helped sabotage community mining which was conceptualized by the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM). He reportedly called the MCE of Asante Akim Central to block the commissioning of a community mining site.
- Donald Entsuah
Donald Entsuah co-owned the mining company C&J Alyeska, with a Canadian national, Simon Ayman. It is said that his company prevented communities from getting access to forest reserves to proceed to their farms.
- Kweku Baako
The journalist is said to have sided with C&J and published unsavory things about Prof Frimpong-Boateng with regards to his work meant to end illegal mining.
- Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Mr. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has been accused of assembling a group of journalists from both NDC and NPP-affiliated media houses at the Forest Hotel in Dodowa to discuss a strategy to bring down Professor Frimpong-Boateng.
The Information Minister has however denied the claims.
“Over the years, I had nothing but great admiration for Prof Boateng’s public spirited works and as an inspirational citizen. I feel gravely offended over the false claims he has made and the hurtful conclusions he has sought to exact about me precisely because of the great esteem in which I have held him,” he is quoted to have said by Ghanaweb.
- Yaw Osafo Marfo
The then Senior Minister is accused of shielding one Seth Mantey who was apprehended for unlawful excavator sale.
- John Ofori-Atta and Ekow Ewusi
Mr John Ofori-Atta, a former Nation Al Security Coordinator for the Central Region and Mr Ewusi are said to have contracted Seth Mantey, to use his Bank account at the National Investment Bank for what was alleged used for money laundering.