The former chairman of the erstwhile Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, authored a report in 2021, citing some NPP top officials as either interfering in the work of the government taskforce on illegal mining or obstructing the fight against illegal mining.
The report, which was submitted to the president through the Chief of Staff, got leaked into public and has since stirred up emotions against the government with some questioning its involvement in illegal mining.
Key among the names cited in the report are Gabby Otchere-Darko, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Lord Commey, Charles Bissue among others.
Some of the cited personalities have come out to refute the allegations levelled against them but Prof. Boateng has not failed to come back to reiterate his points every time.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, and leading NPP member, Gabby Otchere-Darko are among persons who have expressed disappointment in the former minister following his submissions.
What the report accused Gabby of:
Frimpong-Boateng cited how Gabby, a leading member of the NPP and cousin to the president, called him in respect of a specific company, Imperial Heritage, when the taskforce was ready to dislodge it from Kobro Forest.
In the report, Prof Frimpong-Boateng described how Gabby pestered him when the IMCIM was about dislodging the company.
“We were ready to dislodge Imperial Heritage from Kobro Forest when Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko called to inform me that he was the lawyer for Heritage Imperial Limited, a company that was destroying the Kobro and Apaprama Forest Reserves and in the process had also polluted and diverted the course of the river Offin, as can be seen in the satellite images below. I informed the President about the behaviour of Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and he promised to deal with it.”
What the report accused Oppong Nkrumah of:
The report by Prof Frimpong-Boateng to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cited Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah as scheming to run him down.
According to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, the minister gathered and incited a team of journalists to attack him.
“On Saturday the 8th of February 2020. Mr. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, the Minister for Information assembled a group of journalists from both NDC and NPP-affiliated media houses at the Forest Hotel in Dodowa to discuss a strategy to bring me Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng down. Whilst they were there, a journalist from among the group called a friend of mine, also a journalist, and informed him about the plot that was being hatched.
He further informed my friend to watch out for headlines in some newspapers in the days following the meeting,” he stated in the report.
“On Monday, 10′ February 2020, the INFORMER Newspaper, whose Editor was at the meeting had the Banner Headline on its front page as reproduced below:
“As if that was not enough, on Thursday, 13th February 2020, at the 71st Cabinet Meeting, Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah in his regular report to Cabinet talked about news that was trending in the week.
“The first thing he mentioned was Frimpong-Boateng and 500 missing excavators,” the former minister said.
As part of his report, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng alleged that some members of the Committee including Kojo Oppong Nkrumah sabotaged his work.
“It must be noted that Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah, as Minister for Information, was a member of the IMCIM and he never called me to find out what I knew about ‘missing excavators’ but he found it worthwhile to magnify it in press and also present the falsehood before Cabinet for reasons best known to him and his co-conspirators.
“If Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah and the likes of him have presidential ambitions they should pursue it on merit and not attempt to destroy a hard-working patriot, whose only ambition is work to achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid,” the report captured,” he continued.
Gabby’s response to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng:
Gabby in an interview with Accra based Citi FM, April 20, denied that he had interfered in the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
He explained that he was acting as a lawyer for the said company Imperial Heritage Company, which despite being properly registered had its machines seized by officers of the taskforce.
“Heritage had a mining exploration permit issued in July 2019, a forest entry permit issued in November 2018, and also an EPA permit yet the soldiers went and seized the equipment of Heritage and so I called the soldiers and was told that it was the Minister who had sanctioned them and so I asked the Minister what the issue was with the equipment seizures and the Minister said they were prospecting and not exploring and that was the conversation that we had,” he said.
“My intervention was to understand why a legitimate company with all the requisite permits was stopped from doing their work and that is what lawyers do,” he added.
Gabby in turn averred that the former minister had twisted the job of a lawyer to mean interference.
“The Minister deliberately twisted the inquiry by a lawyer of a client’s issue to be an interference and the thing is, it was even a phone call that lasted not more than four minutes and he ended by saying Heritage shouldn’t have been issued with the license, ” he added.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng’s come back:
The former minister in a statement, responded to the denial claims by the legal practitioner, Gabby Otchere Darko.
In the statement, Prof Frimpong-Boateng, lashed out the claims by Gabby in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM describing it as laughable and showed that he [Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko] has such a pixelated view of the illegal mining landscape in Ghana.
“Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko seems to have forgotten that his client has a strong history of acting with impunity. Donald Entsuah, who operated both C&G Aleska and Heritage Imperial Mining Co. Ltd. has a history of abusing mining permits and regulations,” the statement said.
“You called to tell me that your client had a valid mining licence and all necessary permits. I told you that Heritage Imperial Co. Ltd. did not possess documents permitting it to undertake active mining. That notwithstanding through your intervention the Chinese, who were arrested were released by the task force.
The many soldiers who were providing security service to your client’s company attacked the IMCIM task force team and damaged the vehicle carrying journalists who were covering the IMCIM operations. The unfortunate scenes were captured on camera and shown on JOY TV,” it added.
Oppong-Nkrumah responds to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng:
The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, denied the allegations that he orchestrated a plot to bring down Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng over the fight against illegal mining also known as galamsey in the country.
The minister in a statement released on Friday, April 21, 2023, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah described as false and a fabricated account to court public disaffection against his person.
“Over the years, I had nothing but great admiration for Prof Boateng’s public-spirited works and as an inspirational citizen. I feel gravely offended over the false claims he has made and the hurtful conclusions he has sought to exact about me precisely because of the great esteem in which I have held him.
“I trust that in the coming months and years, he will reflect deeply upon his own actions and comments which have led to his challenges. He should kindly leave me out of his personal fights. I am utterly disappointed, but I forgive him,” the statement said.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng claps back:
Also, to the claim and denial of involvement in illegal mining by the minister for information, Prof Frimpong- Boateng by a written statement, advised his ‘son’ on the basis that the Oppong Nkrumah is of the same age as his (Frimpong-Boateng) fourth born, he said: “My advice is, always remember that political power is both short-lived and effervescent.”
Below is excerpts of Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s advice to
Dear Mr. Oppong Nkrumah
I have read your response to what I wrote about you in the report I sent to the Chief of Staff a little over two years ago.
You have denied what I wrote and that is normal. Very few people in your position will own up to their wrongdoings.
I have good advice for you, though. When I was part of the government, we were colleagues and I related to you as such. Now I will advise you as my son, just as I do my children.
After all you are the same age as my 4th born son. When I returned to Ghana from Germany to start the cardiothoracic project, you were just 6 years old as my 4th child. I will not lie to you or insult you or be harsh on you.
My advice is, always remember that political power is both short-lived and effervescent.
In about 2 years’ time, you may no longer be in government and you may experience the real world as former high-profile political power holders do.
I will urge you to do your work diligently and avoid the coded and evil tactics Mr. Paul Adom Okyere boastfully and unashamedly told the world on ‘Good Evening Ghana’ that you employ to deal with your real and perceived enemies.