Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson is demanding a national probe into the revealing issues in the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) report leaked last week.
The report on the operations of the Committee from 2017, when it was inaugurated, to January, 2021, when it was dissolved, cites several government officials in illegal mining.
Some of these government officials cited in the report written by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng are Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, former Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Mafo, New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawyer Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, former New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmaker Joseph Albert Quarm and Kwadwo Osei Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, who died on July 1, 2020 as the Forestry Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Some of these officials have mounted spirited resistance to the allegations cited in the report.
For instance, Mr Quarm, who was a member of the Minerals Commission board and cited in the report for buying several concessions in Manso Nkwanta, says he will drag Prof Frimpong-Boateng to court if he does not retract and apologise.
But in a post on his Facebook page, the Minority Leader said the report only highlighted the failure of the fight against illegal mining by the Akufo-Addo-led government.
“It was shrouded in a well-calculated ruse to enable key government officials and functionaries at the Presidency to dabble in the very illicit business of ‘galamsey’,” the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Member of Parliament (MP) wrote on Tuesday, April 25.
“Despite the President placing a moratorium on April 1, 2017, suspending all artisanal and small-scale mining in the country for a total period of one year and three months, we are told that in 2018, the government, acting through the Forestry Commission and Ministry of Lands, somehow contrived to give out all forest reserves in Ghana for mining activities.
“To confirm the grand collusion, despite a Cabinet directive in 2019 to suspend the issuance of new licenses and permits, more illegal miners, including Chinese gangs, entered Ghana’s forest reserves with the help of government officials, and the destruction of Ghana’s forests and environment continued unabated.
“These revealing issues and several others in the damning report call for a national probe.”