June 14, 2024
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AG’s opinion on Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s ‘galamsey’ report was premature – Edward Bawa

A Member of Parliament’s Energy and Mines Committee, Edward Bawa has criticised the modus operandi the Office of the Attorney-General has adopted in handling Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng’s report on illegal mining in the country.

According to Mr Bawa, the Attorney General’s opinion on the matter was issued prematurely since the police have not thoroughly completed investigations into the allegations contained in the report.

The Attorney-General’s Office has in a document advising the police concluded that Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s allegations in his report on illegal mining activities in the country are empty and do not have evidence to prosecute persons named in it to have offended the laws.

The A-G’s advice to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service said it cannot recommend the prosecution of any of the persons named in the report.

Already, the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, in April 2023, advised that little attention be given to the 36-page document written by Prof Frimpong Boateng entitled “Report on the work of IMCIM so far and the way forward”.

Mr Dame noted that the findings in the former Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining’s report were his opinion and must be investigated to justify their authenticity.

Reacting to these happenings, Mr Bawa, the lawmaker for Bongo constituency questioned the timing of the Attorney General’s actions, noting that the office issued an opinion before requesting further investigation.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he further suggested that the publication by Mr Dame’s outfit is an attempt to create gaps in the investigation to make it non-prosecutable in order to protect government officials.

“For him to hurriedly issue an opinion and then ask that they continue the investigation, I just feel that it was premature, it was an attempt to create gaps in the investigation such that it is not prosecutable.

“And to a very large extent, the persons involved in this were too close to the extent that it was difficult to look into their eyes and tell them ‘Guy what you did is wrong,’” he said.

During the discussion, Bawa also raised concerns about the government’s commitment to addressing the issues outlined in the report.

He claimed that the government had, in his view, intentionally stalled action on the report.

“The government was not committed to ever working on that report,” he asserted. “They had seen it and had decided to, as usual, find one reason or the other to shelve it or cover it up.”

On April 20, the former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, named some top government officials as being complicit in the illegal mining menace.

The renowned heart surgeon indicated that the rot goes as high as the seat of government, the Jubilee House.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng stressed that the allegations of some 500 missing excavators seized from illegal miners in 2020 were fabrications of some persons in the government to get him out of the way.

Since his revelation, there has been an increase in calls for accountability from both government officials and individuals involved in illegal mining activities.

Mr Bawa’s comments add to the growing controversy surrounding the handling of the report on illegal mining, as it suggested a lack of urgency and transparency in addressing the alleged wrongdoing and environmental damage caused by illegal mining operations.

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