The Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Joseph Whittal, has given an indication of a public hearing once it establishes the need to act on a petition by the Member of Parliament (MP) of South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor.
Mr. Dafeamekpor has petitioned CHRAJ to investigate allegations contained in a report issued by the former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng in his capacity as the Chairman of the erstwhile Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
Speaking in an interview on Ghana Tonight on TV3 Tuesday, April 25, Mr. Whittal said, “We can undertake a panel hearing. We can do that and that’s in the interest of the complainant.
“But the point is that you can’t do a panel hearing of all aspects of the investigation. We can do a panel hearing of persons who can come and be interviewed publicly and we can always invite the media to cover.”
This follows the acceptance by the Commission earlier on Tuesday to probe the report.
Mr. Dafeamekpor asked CHRAJ to investigate violations of fundamental human rights, alleged corrupt practices, issues of conflict of interest and abuse of public office by the named public officials and others cited in the report of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng.
The petition, filed by lawyers for the MP, also wants CHRAJ to investigate allegations of corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of office made by Charles Bissue, the former secretary of the IMCIM, against Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the former chairman of the IMCIM, in respect of matters involving some 500 excavators that supposedly went missing around February 2020.
“We would give it the deserved attention that this particular ‘galamsey’ report which has bedevilled the public space, deserves,” Mr. Whitthal said on Accra-based Joy FM.
According to him, although the Commission has received and is studying the report, they have to determine whether the allegations trigger the mandate of CHRAJ.
It would be recalled that in a 36-page report dated 19th March, 2021, the renowned heart surgeon named some top government officials as well as NPP stalwarts as engaged in illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere- Darko, a private legal practitioner and cousin to President Akufo-Addo, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, Mr. Lord Commey, Director of Operations at the Presidency, and Mr. Charles Bissue were some of the persons named by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng as complicit in illegal mining.
They have since denied any involvement in the illegal act.