Saturday, 13 April

Your ‘intervention’ got Chinese galamseyers freed & IMCIM task force, journalists attacked by your client’s soldier guards – Frimpong-Boateng to Otchere-Darko

Politics
Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng

Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has said Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko’s intervention in his fight against galamsey while in office as Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; led to the release of some Chinese galamseyers who were arrested as well as an attack on some members of the Inter-ministerial committee against illegal mining (IMCIM) and journalists, by soldiers who were providing protection for a mining company called Imperial Heritage, for which Mr Octchere-Darko was a lawyer.

 

Mr Otchere-Darko had said Professor Frimpong-Boateng, "twisted" the facts surrounding "my inquiry", as a lawyer, on behalf a client, Heritage Imperial Limited, into why the company had its mining exploration equipment seized by anti-illegal mining task force GalamSTOP despite carrying out legitimate operations.

Responding to Prof Frimpong-Boateng's allegations contained in a report to the chief of staff dated 19 March 2021 that has leaked into the public domain, Mr. Otchere-Darko, who is the Lead Partner at Africa Legal Associates, and a cousin to President Nana Akufo-Addo, told Citi FM’s Vivian Kai Lokko in an interview that he was only doing his job as a lawyer for his client.

“Heritage had a mining exploration permit issued in July 2019, a forest entry permit issued in November 2018, and also an EPA permit; yet, the soldiers went and seized the equipment of Heritage and, so, I called the soldiers and was told that it was the minister who had sanctioned them and, so, I asked the minister what the issue was with the equipment seizures and the minister said they were prospecting and not exploring and that was the conversation that we had", he recalled.

“My intervention was to understand why a legitimate company with all the requisite permits was stopped from doing their work and that is what lawyers do", Mr Otchere-Darko insisted.

In his report, Prof Frimpong-Boateng had said: "We were ready to dislodge Imperial Heritage from Kobro Forest when Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko called to inform me that he was the lawyer for Heritage Imperial Limited, a company that was destroying the Kobro and Apaprama Forest Reserves and in the process had also polluted and diverted the course of the River Offin, as can be seen in the satellite images below. I informed the President about the behaviour of Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and he promised to deal with it".

The president’s cousin, however, said: “The minister deliberately twisted the inquiry by a lawyer of a client’s issue to be an interference and; the thing is, it was even a phone call that lasted not more than four minutes and he ended by saying Heritage shouldn’t have been issued with the licence.”

In the 37-page report, Prof Frimpong-Boateng named specific individuals who are big shots within the governing New Patriotic Party as well as appointees of the president at the Jubilee House, who are neck-deep in galamsey.

“Throughout our struggle with illegalities in the small-scale mining sector, what baffled me was the total disregard of the president’s commitment to protect the environment. I can state without any equivocation that many party officials from the National to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers or relatives engaged in illegal mining".

“Most of them engaged Chinese working for them. I am not referring to party people who had their legitimate concession and were mining sustainably as they were instructed to do. There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace,” Prof. Frimpong-Boateng alleged in his report.

Responding to Mr Otchere-Darko’s comments, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said in a statement: “Mr Gabby Otchere-Darko, it is laughable that you claim to have called me to seek information on your client. If you needed any information, you could have called the Minerals Commission”.

“You know I did not operate mining information services. You called to tell me that your client had a valid mining licence and all necessary permits. I told you that Heritage Imperial Co. Ltd. did not possess documents permitting it to undertake active mining. That notwithstanding, through your intervention, the Chinese, who were arrested were released by the task force”, the world-renowned heart surgeon said.

“The many soldiers who were providing security service to your client’s company attacked the IMCIM task force team and damaged the vehicle carrying journalists who were covering the IMCIM operations. The unfortunate scenes were captured on camera and shown on JOY TV”.

Read Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s full response below:

FRIMPONG-BOATENG’S RESPONSE TO MR. GABBY OTCHERE DARKO INTERVIEW ON CITI FM

I have come across transcripts of statements made by Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko during an interview he had on CITI FM on Thursday 20th April 2023. After listening to the words of Mr. Gabby Otchere Darko I became sad for Ghana.

I wondered what happened to us to get to this state, where a person who is supposed to be the lawyer of a mining company exhibited such industrial scale ignorance about mining laws and regulations.

Going over the videos and pictures depicting the monumental environmental degradation in the areas of operation of Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko’s clients, and seeing his ignorance, I am no longer surprised that Mr. Gabby Otchere Darko has such a pixelated view of the illegal mining landscape in Ghana.

Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko seems to have forgotten that his client has a strong history of acting with impunity. Donald Entsuah, who operated both C&G Aleska and Heritage Imperial Mining Co. Ltd. has a history of abusing mining permits and regulations.

On 29th November 2016, Mr. Toni Aubyn, then Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission during the NDC administration, wrote to C&G Aleska that the Company was “seriously engaged in illegal mining on its prospecting licence”.

On 30th January 2017, Mr. Aubyn wrote again to C&G Aleska for “undertaking mining activities illegally without obtaining all the requisite permits and approvals”.

Again, on 2nd October 2017, Hon. John Peter Amewu, the first NPP Minister for Lands and Natural Resources wrote to G&G Aleska regarding the Dwuabo concession and directed that: “In view of the fact that C&G Aleska does not have a valid Mining Operating Permit, and that the Ministry has not yet ratified your mining lease, you are directed NOT TO CARRY 0UT ANY MINING OPERATIONS in the concession until your mining lease has been ratified”.

C&G Aleska metamorphosed into Heritage Imperial Mining Co. Ltd. operated by Donald Entsuah.

This time they settled in the Apaprama and Kobro forests in Manso in the Ashanti Region and immediately started with active mining without even a prospecting licence with the attendant destruction of forests, farmlands, and water bodies.

It was in these forest reserves that the IMCIM task force attempted to stop the illegal operations of Donald Entsuah and his Heritage Imperial Company in 2018.

Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko, it is laughable that you claim to have called me to seek information on your client. If you needed any information, you could have called the Minerals Commission.

You know I did not operate mining information services.

You called to tell me that your client had a valid mining licence and all necessary permits.

I told you that Heritage Imperial Co. Ltd. did not possess documents permitting it to undertake active mining.

That notwithstanding through your intervention the Chinese, who were arrested were released by the task force.

The many soldiers who were providing security service to your client’s company attacked the IMCIM task force team and damaged the vehicle carrying journalists who were covering the IMCIM operations. The unfortunate scenes were captured on camera and shown on JOY TV.

Mr. Otchere-Darko, I don’t think you have retrograde amnesia, but I still want to refresh your memory about the destruction of the environment that had been perpetrated by your client over the years with the accompanying videos and pictures from Diaso forest and Apaprama.

Even if your clients had all licences and permits, with the destruction that they caused, not only should they have been stopped from operating a mining company indefinitely, but they should also have been prosecuted, probably jailed, made to reclaim the land, vegetate it and clean the water bodies.

Finally, the [former] minister, who Mr Gabby Otchere-Darko thinks had a weak understanding of his position, has done more for this country and the world than Mr. Otchere-Darko would ever dream of in a million years.

Prof. Dr. Med. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng

 

Source: ClassFMonline.com