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The highly revered heart surgeon turned politician, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, is out to salvage his reputation from the fallout of the Galamsey saga with revelations that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), its Constituency, regional and national executives, as well as its Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of state and their relatives, are briskly involved in the illegal mining business, while stopping others with heavily-armed policemen and soldiers.
In this regard, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations (MESTI), whose son Jojo Frimpong-Boateng, is also linked with the Galamsey business, has lodged a complaint with the Ghana Police Service against a journalist with Accra-based Peace FM and the suspended NPP Central Regional Vice-Chairman, Ekow Ewusi, who is one of the six suspects already being investigated by the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in connection with the 500 missing excavators that were seized from illegal miners.
Jojo Frimpong-Boateng, has been linked to a company called, Symphony Limited, said to be involved in the Galamsey business.
But his father in a letter dated February 5, 2020, bearing his signature and addressed to the Director-General of the CID, Prof Frimpong-Boateng stated: “In October last year, one Mr Seth Mantey, a journalist working with Peace FM, was apprehended because of unlawful excavator sales. In the course of the investigations, Mr Mantey, confessed that he was contracted by Mr John Ofori-Atta, the then-National Security Coordinator for the Central Region, and Mr Ekow Ewusi, to use his bank account at the National Investment Bank for what, effectively, was money laundering.
“The proceeds from the excavator sales were lodged in Seth Mantey’s bank account, adding “The moneys lodged were later cashed and given to Mr John Ofori-Atta, who, in turn, gave some of the money to Ekow Ewusi”.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng, who is also the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), further revealed that “Seth Mantey’s statement and a statement from the National Investment Bank, are attached to this letter”, and asked “I wish to appeal to the police authorities to investigate the matter”.
On the same day that Prof Frimpong-Boateng addressed the letter to the CID, the leader of the team in-charge of monitoring and securing all seized earthmoving and auxiliary equipment used for illegal small-scale mining, revealed that 315 excavators had been seized as of January 31, 2020, but only 127 are left in the central pool in Accra.
According to Nana Yaw Boadu, some of the excavators, have found their way back into the forest reserves where they were seized.
He said about 32 are back in the forests of Obuasi in the Ashanti region, while about 15 are back in Tarkwa in the Western region.
“Some of the machines have gone back to the mining site”, he told Accra-based Asempa FM’s Ekosiisen talk show on Wednesday, 5 February 2020.
According to him, the team, in collaboration with the CID, is now investigating how the seized excavators found their way back to the bush.
Nana Yaw Boadu, said the trackers on some of the excavators were “disengaged”, thus, the difficulty in tracing them.
Apart from the excavators, Nana Yaw Boadu, said the team is also in charge of all other mining equipment seized from the galamseyers by the Operation Vanguard team. They include, fuel pumps, batteries, and ‘chan fans’.
About a week ago, Prof Frimpong-Boateng, disclosed that some of the 500 excavators allegedly seized by the IMCIM, had gone missing.
In an interview with Accra-based Joy FM, he said: “We were told that 500 [excavators] had been seized and given to the district assemblies but later on, when we went out to check, the figure was far less than that”.
Asked the exact figures, the minister answered: “I cannot tell you exactly what, but I can tell you it was far lower than the 500 put out”.
He, however, noted that the earthmoving equipment that went missing, were in the custody of the district assemblies.
“That was the case in most of the areas, so, we sent people out there to talk to the district assemblies and we got Vanguard involved and most of them had disappeared”, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said.
On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, the CID issued a statement announcing the arrest of six suspects in connection with the missing excavators.
They include Horace Ekow Ewusie, Frederick Ewusi, Joel Asamoah, Adam Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin.
Ekow Ewusi, Frederick Ewusi and Joel Asamoah, have been cautioned on the offence of stealing, while Adnan Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin, have been cautioned on the offence of abetment of stealing.
The CID statement, said the suspects were arrested on Monday, February 3, 2020 at Abelemkpe in Accra.
While this was happening, a video popped up on social media which captured the voice of Prof Frimpong-Boateng and Ewusi, as well as others, having a heated argument over galamsey.
Certain known names in the NPP such as the General Secretary of the party, John Boadu; the party’s Ashanti Regional Chair and Bernard Antwi Boasiako (Chairman Wontumi) were mentioned in the video in connection with some concessions.
Interestingly, the President of the Concerned Small Scale Miners, Michael Kwadwo Peprah, has alleged that several ounces of gold seized from illegal miners by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining between 2018 and 2019 have gone missing.
This comes on the back of the arrest of Horace Ekow Ewusi and five others for their alleged involvement in the disappearance of some confiscated excavators and Mr Preprah, insists the situation warrants further investigations.
“You have seized people’s excavators and those excavators cannot be found. They have seized people’s gold because they thought they were engaging in galamsey and that gold cannot be found and at the end of the day, we are back to the same problem,” he said.
“If we are able to seize over 500 excavators, then imagine the number of gold that will be seized alongside the excavators because all those excavators were used in mining. And at the end of the day when you go and catch the person in the act, they were not catching stones, they were mining. So if you should take the gold with the excavator, you should know the amount of gold we are talking about. It means that in this fight against galamsey, people were using it to enrich themselves. Now that we have brought the military and they have failed, what is next? That is one thing we fear.”
Michael Kwadwo Peprah, also said the suggested dissolution of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining as hinted by the NPP General Secretary, John Boadu is long overdue.
“We said it over again that using the military to fight the problem is not the solution and the government did not adhere to what we were trying to say. Now that at least we have had evidence from all that we were saying, it is a lesson to them. And it is a lesson to the subsequent government. The problem is a very complex one and if you do not understand the problem, that is when you make mistakes like what we have done,” he said.