After the seeming failure of countless efforts from the opposition National Democratic Congress to get government to probe the Professor Frimpong Boateng “Galamsey’ Report, its chief communicator has commenced an independent investigations into the matter.
The Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress, Sammy Gyamfi, has submitted a Right To Information request to the Environment Protection Agency, Forest Commission, Attorney General’s Department, and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
The RTI request was to demand these state agencies and ministries to furnish the communicator with all documents regarding the activities of Heritage Imperial Company Limited in the Apamprma Forest reserve.
Taking to his Twitter account, he announced his move and justifications for it.
“Earlier today, I submitted RTI requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Commission, Attorney General’s Department, and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in respect of the activities of Heritage Imperial Company Limited in the Apamprama Forest Reserve. This request has become imperative in light of a legal opinion from the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice to the Ghana Police Service dated 12th September 2023.”Sammy Gyamfi
He noted that the legal opinion which suggested that “no evidence has been found by the State in support of allegations by the former Minister of Environment and former Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee Against Illegal Mining, Prof. Frimpong Boateng, that Heritage Imperial Company Limited has been mining and/or operating illegally in the Apamprama forest reserve”, has necessitated his probe independent into the issue.
He thus intends to support the police with investigations from the findings after his probe.
“I believe that the requested information will enable me to assist the Ghana Police Service and the Attorney-General to conduct thorough investigations into this matter to punish anyone found culpable.”Sammy Gyamfi
Sammy Gyamfi’s Specific Request
The specific demand of the RTI request from the NDC Communicator to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources included “a copy of the prospecting license granted to Heritage Imperial Company Limited in respect of Aprampram Forest reserve dated 25th October 2018 by your office.”
Also in his request was, “a copy of a letter revoking the said prospecting license dated on or about 16th January 2019 by your office.”
Then also, the letter requested “any other relevant report or document that relates to the activities of Heritage Imperial Company Limited in the Apramprama forest reserve in the Ashanti Region.”
This comes on the back of recent allegations made by the communicator against Heritage Imperial Company Limited following the Attorney-General’s legal advice to the Ghana Police Service on the Frimpong Boateng Galamsey Report investigations.
One of such allegation pointed specifically at Donald Enstuah and Heritage Imperial Limited.
The NDC alleged that “a video documentary published by Joy News, titled “Forest under Siege” contained incontrovertible evidence that confirms the assertion by Prof. Frimpong Boateng to the effect that Emmanuel Donald Enstuah’s C&J Aleska, now Imperial Heritage Limited, has under the guise of prospecting engaged in illegal mining in the Kobro section of the Apamprama forest reserve in the Amansie area of the Ashanti Region.”
According to the NDC, “sometime in 2018, the anti-galamsey taskforce arrested and seized about thirty (30) excavators and mining equipment belonging to the company for engaging in illegal mining in the Kobro forest who had by then destroy 1000 hecters of the forest.”
Thus the NDC found it “preposterous for the Attorney-General to assert that there is no evidence to substantiate the damning assertions contained in Prof. Frimpong Boateng’s galamsey report.”
The Right to Information Act, 2019 (ACT 989) is a monument of Ghana’s growing democracy. It was passed by Parliament on 26th March, 2019. On 21st May, 2019, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo passed it into law. The law gives all citizens the right to access information as enshrined in Article 21(1f) of the 1992 Constitution; All persons shall have the right to information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society.
The ACT 989, thus, was passed to regulate the legal access to government-held information. This promotes transparency and accountability within the state institutions. Since its inception, many individuals but particular, the media have used it to gain access to information.