The Minority in Parliament has called on the Special Prosecutor to stop pestering the former Chairman of the now-defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.
According to them, Kissi Agyebeng should rather investigate and arrest the big names which appeared in Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s ‘galamsey’ report which he presented to President Akufo-Addo.
The Minority added that if the government wants to exhibit seriousness and win the fight against illegal mining, it should go beyond the arrest of Prof Frimpong-Boateng.
Ranking Member on the Lands and Forestry Committee, Dr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo who was speaking on behalf of the Minority said this while addressing the media in Parliament on Tuesday, June 13.
He cited some names in Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s ‘galamsey’ report, and urged the Special Prosecutor to call for their head in order to reduce the fight against illegal mining.
“It should go wider by ensuring the arrest of government and Jubilee House appointees at the heart of government, which includes Mr Gabby Otchere-Darko, the President’s cousin, the Director of Operations, Mr Lord Commey, including Hon. Joseph Albert Kwam, who have all been cited by the committee.
“It is our opinion that a public inquiry on the committee report and damage to our forest reserves is necessary, especially with the now wider destruction of our lands and rivers by galamsey operators,” Mr Pelpuo said.
The Minority’s comments follow an earlier arrest and subsequent bailing of the former Environment Minister by the Office of the Special Prosecutor into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of the activities and expenditure of the dissolved IMCIM.
To this end, Mr Palpuo who doubles as the Wa Central MP asserted that it is unthinkable that the government allowed the destruction of the environment while being an active sponsor of what they call environmental terrorism.
Mr Pelpuo, however, called on the government to revoke the executive instrument EI 144 of the forest reserves.
“…And it turns out that the government itself is a key sponsor of the destruction and misuse of these resources.
“….The instrument is 2022. The EI in operation will remove 361.50 acres of forests from Achimota forest reserves, and that’s the lungs of Accra. Ladies and gentlemen, existing forests all over the country must be preserved,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has been barred from effecting any warrant allowing it to arrest the former Secretary of the defunct IMCIM, Charles Bissue.
The court presided over by Justice Nicholas Abodakpi has also asked the OSP not to apply for a further warrant of arrest until the case filed by Mr Bissue is determined.
This comes after the OSP secured an order from the court and declared Mr Bissue wanted for his alleged involvement in illegal mining activities.
But despite the order, the former Presidential staffer’s lawyer has insisted that his client will not turn himself in.
Following this, Mr Bissue’s lawyers on Thursday, June 15, urged the High Court to injunct the OSP.
“That by failing to make available a copy of the Petition and for that matter, the particulars of the complaint forming the basis of the investigation for which the Ist Respondent (OSP) had invited the Applicant, the 1st Respondent is acting in a manner which is unfair, unreasonable and unlawful and thus, contrary to the provisions of the aforementioned L.I. 2374 and Article 23 of the Constitution 1992.
“That the Applicant was reliably informed some time on or around the 7th of June 2023, that the 1st Respondent had applied to the 2nd Respondent and had been granted an Arrest Warrant against him, notwithstanding the fact that the aforementioned Motion for Interlocutory Injunction remained pending.”