Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, a former minister of environment, science, technology, and innovation, has declared he will fully assist the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in its investigations into claims of corruption in the operations of the since disbanded Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
This came after Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was formally invited by the OSP to help with inquiries into the operations of the IMCIM, which he served as chair of.
The well-known cardiologist confirmed the invitation in a statement by saying that the OSP had extended it and that he had formally accepted it, ready to accept it.
“Earlier today, I received a letter from the Office of the Special Prosecutor inviting me to assist the Office, ‘as a person necessary for the investigation’ into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of the activities and expenditure of the dissolved Inter- Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).”
“I have formally communicated my willingness to attend the invitation and to support the OSP in its work,” the statement said.
The OSP on May 2, said it was already investigating issues on a number of corruption offences in the mining sector in the country.
Those issues include allegations raised in a report authored by the former Environment Minister.
In a press statement, the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, acknowledged the recent calls from public and civil society following the publication of the report by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, who was the head of the dissolved IMCIM.
“The OSP welcomes the calls for action and investigations and it assures the public and civil society that its investigation is ongoing and far-reaching and it also covers the matters raised in the report published by the head of the dissolved IMCIM.
“The OSP will take necessary action against all persons deemed culpable of corruption and corruption-related offences in the mining sector,” the statement said.
In a report presented to the Presidency in March 2021, which was currently in the public domain, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng mentioned dozens of people in the Akufo-Addo administration, as well as party bigwigs, as being complicit in illegal mining and frustrating the efforts of the President to combat the menace.
Although the report was authored and presented to the President, it has become an issue of national discourse following the renowned world heart surgeon’s interview on GTV about the illegal mining menace.
He said the report was handed over to personnel of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) during investigations on some missing excavators.
“I didn’t write the report for Ghanaians to talk about it. It has been two years since the report was authored. I didn’t leak it.
“After I granted an interview with GTV, some CID officials visited me to investigate some comments I made in the said interview concerning some excavators. I then handed over the report to them.
“I am not saying the CID officials leaked the report but I gave them the report to aid with their investigations and that was the end.”
Presidency, appointees react
However, the Presidency and some of the individuals mentioned in the report have dismissed the report.
A statement from the Presidency dismissed the report in its form and substance, and further described it as “unfounded and hearsay.”
In terms of the form, the statement said the report was not an official document, but rather a catalogue of personal grievances by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng in response to some issues during his tenure as the Chairperson of the IMCIM.
The report, the statement said, was delivered by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng to the Chief of Staff on March 21, 2021, when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo decided not to renew his mandate as a minister in his second term.
“The document did not have a transmittal or cover letter nor, indeed, an addressee, such as to suggest that it was submitted to the Chief of Staff for action.
“It is noteworthy that the IMCIM was a creation of Cabinet, and any formal report on its activities would, normally, be submitted to Cabinet through the Cabinet Secretary, or directly to the President of the Republic as Chairperson of Cabinet. To date, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng has done neither,” the statement added.
With regard to its substance, the statement noted that although the allegations made by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng were serious, he failed to provide any shred of evidence to support them.
“It is important also to point out that while Prof. Frimpong-Boateng makes serious allegations against some government appointees, as having been involved in, supporting or interfering with the fight against illegal mining, not a single piece of evidence was adduced or presented to enable the claims to be properly investigated,” the statement from the Presidency said.