President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed the Ghana Police Service to commence investigations into allegations made by a former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, concerning the engagement of some New Patriotic Party (NPP) bigwigs in illegal mining activities, popularly known as “galamsey”.
The President gave the directive last week, and Daily Graphic checks indicate that the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has commenced investigations into the matter.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, in a recent interview with the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), alleged that some officials of the ruling government were involved in galamsey.
He claimed that the alleged missing excavators story was used against him by his own party and other government officials involved in galamsey as a weapon to remove him from office.
He alleged that the loss of his position paved the way for some bigwigs in the ruling NPP to continue their galamsey activities.
The excavators were seized from galamsey operators at various points across the country.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng claimed in the interview that allegations concerning the loss of some 500 excavators seized from persons engaged in illegal mining in 2020 were untrue, adding that the stories were made up by some persons in the government to tarnish his reputation in order to chase him out of office.
During the interview on GBC, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said: “There was an orchestration within the party and the government to get me out, and when I left, galamsey activities increased. Now things are coming up and we know those who are doing galamsey, even within the party and even people at the Jubilee House.”
He disclosed that the very actions of military personnel deployed to effect the arrest of illegal miners triggered the entire falsehood about him being responsible for the missing excavators at the time.
“The true story is that at the start of Operation Vanguard, the soldiers were supposed to arrest the excavators, but they went into the forest, removed the control boards of the excavators and came back to report. But when they went away, the owners went with different control boards and moved the excavators away,” he said.
Following his interview, a number of people and groups, including the Minority in Parliament, have called for investigations into the allegations made.
A highly placed source in the police told the Daily Graphic that last week the CID commenced investigations into the issues raised by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng.
According to the source, the police had dispatched a letter to Prof Frimpong-Boateng to assist the police in their investigations.
However, when contacted yesterday, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng told the Daily Graphic that he had not received any letter from the police on the matter.
Nevertheless, he said, he would cooperate fully with any investigations into the matter if he was approached
Calls for probe
Last Friday, the Minority in Parliament called for investigations into the galamsey claims made by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng.
The Ranking Member on the Lands and Forestry Committee, Dr Rashid Pelpuo, told journalists that the allegations were grave and must be probed.
“We have reports of key government officials being key galamsey operators involved in destroying lands in forest reserves. We wish to call on the government to investigate the allegations made by the former Minister of Environment. It is also our expectation that the government must desist from joining illegal immigrants engaged in galamsey because today most of the lands destroyed have not been restored,” he said.
Ahead of the call by the Minority, the Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak, had called for a probe into the allegations.
The MP, in a statement, appealed to the state security agencies, such as the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the CID to investigate the matter.
He added that such allegations could not be swept under the carpet, and that investigations must be done to bring the perpetrators to book.
“Ghanaians expect the requisite state agencies/institutions (OSP, BNI, CID) to show loyalty to Ghana by initiating investigations into the allegations made by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng. Given his stature and previous position in this NPP government, these allegations cannot and must not be ignored,” he added.