The Minority Caucus in Ghana’s Parliament led by its Ranking Member of the Lands and Forestry Committee in Parliament has called for the immediate arrest of President Akufo-Addo’s cousin, Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the Director of Operations at The Jubilee House, the official residence and office of the President, Mr. Lord Commey, and other government appointees implicated in the Professor Frimpong-Boateng ‘galamsey report.’
According to the Ranking Member of the Lands and Forestry Committee in Parliament, Dr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, if the government through the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and Ghana Police Service wants to demonstrate its seriousness in the fight against the menace, it must go beyond the arrest of the former Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
The Minority Caucus specifically highlights President Akufo-Addo’s cousin, along with the Director of Operations at the Presidency, Lord Commey, and former Manso-Nkwanta MP, Joseph Quarm, as individuals who should be facing the law as per their mention in the galamsey report.
Addressing members of the Parliamentary Press Corps, yesterday Tuesday, June 13, 2023, Dr. Pelpuo, expressed the group’s dissatisfaction with the arrest of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng while those they believed are the real perpetrators walk freely,
“We find the arrest of Prof Boateng awkward and unimpressive because rather than working with Prof Boateng to get to the roots of the problem, he is seen as a culprit rather than an informant.
It creates the impression that this arrest is meant to cloud the accusation of the Government involvement either directly or through its appointed officials in the destructive illegal mining practices that are completely destroying our rivers and our forest reserves and farmlands.” He noted.
The Ranking Member further revealed that the Minority had requested a formal investigation into the IMCIM report following its revelations and the alleged involvement of key New Patriotic Party (NPP) government officials.
“Except for the brazen arrest of a man who threw all he has to reveal the hidden truth in the Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining illegal.
It is unthinkable that the state including all its resources, its lands, rivers, money, and people are left to an elected government to manage and it turns out that, the government itself is a key sponsor of the destruction and misuse of these resources.”
Our cocoa farms are diminishing, our people are drinking mercury-polluted water, our rivers are dying and our forest reserves are destroyed on a daily basis.”
We can’t sit down for the corruption and destruction of our lands to go,” he stressed, quoting Prof. Frimpong Boateng.” He retorted.
Dr. Pelpuo also made further demands to the government in support of the Eco-Conscious Citizens of Ghana.
These demands include the revocation of Executive Instrument (E.I) 144 Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument 2022, which would remove 361.50 acres of forest from the Achimota Forest Reserve, a vital green lung for Accra.
He also called for the suspension of all Community Mining activities, the revocation of section 3(2) of Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations 2022 Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 2462, which allows mining in globally significant biodiversity areas in the “national interest,” holding the directors of Akonta Mining accountable for their alleged destruction of portions of the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve, and ensuring the company restores the areas they damaged.
Additionally, the Minority demanded action in response to JoyNews’ documentary ‘Gold For Destruction,’ which provides evidence of direct government involvement in illegal mining and the protection of these activities by military personnel, resulting in environmental destruction.