Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, has described the investigation conducted on the former environment minister, Prof Frimpong Boateng’s galamsey report by the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, a sham.
According to him, the menace of illegal mining is a threat to the collective survival of Ghanaians, and as such, the minority owe it a “duty to God and country to follow up the fights and to expose acts that undermine the fight”.
He revealed that illegal mining has been destructive to Ghana’s waterbodies, forests and lands, making the devastation being witnessed currently unprecedented.
In light of this, Mr Gyamfi maintained that “no acts of cover up” should be countenanced in the matter.
“Unfortunately, the Office of the Attorney General is engaged in a coverup relative to the damning revelations contained in the 36-paged Prof Frimpong Boateng galamsey report. We say so for three reasons. The so-called investigation that the AG claims has been conducted into this matter is a sham.
“It’s a sham because even before this report was investigated allegedly by the police, the presidency had this report more than two years before it was leaked into the media space, and for two years they took no action.”Sammy Gyamfi
Further justifying his stance, Mr Gyamfi noted that when the report was leaked into the media, government issued a statement and indicated that the report was only a “catalogue of personal grievances” of Prof Frimpong Boateng and that they were “hearsays at best”.
He explained that the official position of the presidency led to the dismissal of the report right from the “outset, even before any investigations will be launched into the matter”.
“Then the AG also granted an interview and said the report is just a personal opinion of Prof Frimpong Boateng and that he should be given little attention…”Sammy Gyamfi
Furthermore, Sammy Gyamfi questioned why government will disregard an official report from a “minister of state, who doubled as the chairman of the inter-ministerial committee against illegal mining”. He equally condemned the AG’s description of the report as a “personal view of the minister”, leading to the report being given “little attention”.
“So, straightaway, you realize that these guys set out to cover up this matter, they never intended to publish the report or act on same…”Sammy Gyamfi
Authenticating AG’s probe into galamsey report
Elaborating on his reason for saying “no credible investigation” was conducted on the galamsey report, Sammy Gyamfi stated that in the AG’s “so-called advice”, he indicated that when the President “allegedly” referred the matter to the police for investigations, the police only did two things.
First, he revealed that the police only visited Prof Frimpong Boateng in his house, and asked him to assist them with further investigation on the allegations he had made in the report. Beyond this, he indicated that all the police did was to invite the persons who had been named in the report for questioning.
“… The people appeared and said, we are not guilty… They never spoke to the inter-ministerial committee against illegal mining…”Sammy Gyamfi
On his part, Deputy Attorney General, Alfred Tuah Yeboah, revealed that in terms of opening further investigations or not into the galamsey report, when the AG renders an opinion, that opinion is not “cast in stone and not closed”. He explained that because at best, the persons named in the report could only be discharged, which doesn’t amount to an acquittal.
“For that matter, if there’s any information and that information has legal basis that will warrant the opening up of such a matter, why not?”Alfred Tuah Yeboah
Furthermore, Mr Yeboah commended government’s fight against illegal mining. He stated that when it comes to the fight against illegal mining, government has prosecuted illegal miners more than any other government.
“As I speak to you now, there are over 130 criminal cases on illegal mining, involving over 800 people. People have been sentenced and convicted, some of them are in prison now [and] others are also having their day in court. So, if there’s any theory that no one is ready to fight galamsey, I will engage that person in whatever debate that he wants to have.”Alfred Tuah Yeboah