Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, has stated categorically that every individual who formed part of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) is a target in the OSP’s investigations into corrupt and corruption-related activities.
Mr Kissi Agyebeng made this known in an interview on JoyNews on Saturday monitored by The Independent Ghana following the arrest of the defunct-IMCIM’s Chair, Professor Frimpong-Boateng. Per reports, some amount of GHS350 spent by the committee is yet to be accounted for.
According to former Environment Minister, Prof Frimpong-Boateng, he feels victimized.
Among the ministries which formed the Committee are 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.
Among the tasks of the Committee was to sanitise and regularise small-scale mining activities in the various mining districts to ensure that miners work within legal framework.
The committee’s mandate was brought to an end by President Akufo-Addo due to its ineffectiveness. Per reports, some excavators seized by the committee are also unaccounted for.
According to Mr Kissi Agyebeng, the committee “can’t account for so many things.” He however clarified that he holds no personal case against Professor Boateng and is working per his mandate.
In his recent report on the work of the IMCIM, Prof Frimpong-Boateng accused some members of the Committee of sabotaging its work to check illegal mining also known as galamsey.
“Apart from the Ministers for Sanitation and Local Government and Rural Development, all the others abandoned the Committee,” he stated in the report, said to have been submitted on March 19, 2021.
“To make matters worse, the Chairman was personally attacked, vilified and framed for things he had not done.
“Such assaults came from many people, including some of the ministers who effectively left the committee.”
He cited Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, and then Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Mafo, as among the ministers who deliberately worked against the committee.
Meanwhile, the Special Prosecutor has noted that to prevent reputations from being damaged, the OSP will only bring out names should it have gathered sufficient evidence against an individual.
According to Mr Kissi Agyebeng, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has investigated tens of people and is likely to see the number run into the hundreds.
Horace Ekow Ewusi, the former 1st Vice-Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Central Region, and Seth Mantey, a journalist with Peace FM, were both arrested and questioned as part of the ongoing probe.
On the other hand, the Special Prosecutor has shot down claims that the OSP is operating in a military style. According to him, the OSP will however step up should individuals fail to honour its invitation in its investigations.
Source: The Independent Ghana