October 10, 2022

OSP Probes Charles Bissue, Akonta Mining, Officials Of Lands ministry, Others Over Galamsey

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) says it has commenced investigations into the alleged corruption and corruption-related offences by some officials and persons with respect to illegal mining activities in the country.

This probe targets companies like Akonta Mining Limited as well as other local and foreign mining companies operating in the country.

It also targets Government officials including that of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission; Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs); and some officials of the dissolved Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).

The OSP hinted that it is targeting some political party officials as well.

IMCIM is being targeted for activities and expenditures especially with respect to its seizure and management of excavators, machinery, road vehicles and gold nuggets while it existed.

Former secretary of the IMCIM, Charles Bissue is also being targeted for allegedly using that office for profit as depicted by an expose by Investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas titled “Galamsey Fraud” part 1 produced in 2019.

For Akonta Mining and the rest of the flagged mining companies, the OSP said, they were involved in corruption and corruption related-offences.

This comes after the squabble between the former secretary of the IMCIM and Anas was resuscitated last week.

During a press conference last Thursday, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) promised to get Charles Bissue arrested over the Anas expose that incriminated him in illegal mining activities.

He responded to this in an epistle describing the documentary as “doctored and propaganda induced”.

In the documentary, Charles appeared collecting bundles of money to facilitate illegal mining- an illegality the Committee was commissioned to fight against.

But he was exonerated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service after Anas failed to appear before it to aid in the investigations.

“As I have said countless times, that money was not a bribe, and I did not make any demands whatsoever from any operative or beneficiary of illegal mining while I served on the IMCIM”, he said in his statement dated October 6.

According to him, the money he was captured taking was a donation from the NPP Chairman of the Ashanti Region, Bernard Antwi Boasiako alias Chairman Wontumi, to be given to the then NPP Western Regional Organiser, Abdul Ganiyu for a party event organised in the Western Region.

He also noted that the documentary was a set-up.

“It was uncovered that a former employee of the IMCIM, Francis Owusu Akyaw, whom I fired for unsatisfactory conduct sponsored the video recording of the documentary. Francis Owusu Akyaw admitted to the Police of having commissioned that recording…This same Francis Owusu Akyaw is a named beneficiary of a mining firm [DML, as named in the leaked will] co-owned by the late Sir John of the Forestry Commission” a portion of the documentary stated.

In a counter statement, Tiger Eye P.I, the Investigative firm that produced the documentary said the expose was conducted based on “truth, facts and audio-visual evidence”, and therefore maintained the findings of its investigations.

It said it decided to go undercover to investigate the Committee after it received a tip-off from persons who had witnessed the first-hand sabotage from the officials.

Tiger Eye said it decided not to collaborate with the CID because it sensed the move was to undermine the investigations of the OSP then.

“Therefore the so-called CID report which Mr Bissue always hurriedly likes to bask in had no inputs from Tiger Eye who were the sole authors” of the documentary.

On the claim that the money in question was a donation from Chairman Wontumi, Tiger Eye noted it is “false”.

“No agent of Tiger eye works with or for the NPP…The conversations that ensued before Mr Bissue took the bribes in our investigative piece are a matter of public record. These conversations had nothing to do with any party activity which Mr Bissue is struggling very hard, albeit unsuccessfully, to interpolate into the whole narrative”.

It added that it does not recognise Charles’ exoneration as communicated by the CID.

Missing Excavators
Although the Chairman of the IMCIM, Prof Frimpong-Boateng pegged the number of confiscated excavators at 500 and said they were missing, Charles Bissue argues otherwise.

Charles says the Committee, while it existed conficated 258 excavators and 211 control boards of excavators which were removed from immovable excavators with none of them going missing as propagated by Prof Frimpong Boateng.

Charles notes that these excavators were parked at the various premises of District Assemblies under the custody of Operation Vanguard until 2019.

In the October 6 statement from Charles, he said, “It is not true that 500 excavators were seized during the 2-year ban” and added that Prof Frimpong Boateng’s reluctance to “correct the misinformation smacks of a deliberate agenda to discredit persons assigned to this task”.

Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini

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