The Minority Caucus in parliament wants the government to probe claims by former minister Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng that the Jubilee House, as well as the Akufo-Addo government and the governing New Patriotic Party, is harbouring galamsey kingpins who are destroying Ghana’s forest reserves and waters.
Dr Rashid Pelpuo, the ranking member of the lands and forestry committee of parliament told journalists that the allegations must not be left uninvestigated.
“We have reports of key government officials being key galamsey operators involved in destroying lands in forest reserves”.
“We wish to call on the government to investigate the allegations made by the former Minister of Environment”.
“It is also our expectation that the government must desist from joining illegal immigrants engaged in galamsey because today, most of the lands destroyed have not been restored.”
Prof Frimpong Boateng, a former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who also chaired the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), revealed that elements within both the governing New Patriotic Party and the Akufo-Addo government, conspired in a grand scheme to hound him out of office to pave the way for their free participation in illegal mining (galamsey).
In February 2020 while still in office, Prof Frimpong Boateng disclosed that some of the 500 excavators allegedly seized by the IMCIM had gone missing.
In an interview with Accra-based Joy FM at the time, Prof Frimpong Boateng said: “We were told that 500 [excavators] had been seized and given to the district assemblies but later on, when we went out to check, the figure was far less than that”.
Asked about the exact figures, Prof Frimpong Boateng answered: “I cannot tell you exactly what but I can tell you it was far lower than the 500 put out”.
He, however, noted that the earthmoving equipment that went missing were in the custody of the district assemblies.
“That was the case in most of the areas, so, we sent people out there to talk to the district assemblies and we got Vanguard involved and most of them had disappeared”, Prof Frimpong Boateng said.
In a recent interview with state broadcaster GBC, however, Prof Frimpong Boateng said the missing excavator story was trumped up against him by his own party and other government officials involved in galamsey, just to get him out.
“No 500 excavators got missing. Who said that? It was thrown into the media space to tag something on Frimpong-Boateng”, he said.
“What am I doing with 500 excavators?” he wondered.
Explaining what happened, from his point of view, the famed heart surgeon said: “The true story is that, at the start of the Operation Vanguard thing, the soldiers were supposed to arrest the excavators and they go into the forest where they are doing the mining and they remove control board”.
“So, if they remove 20 control boards today, they will report that they have immobilised 20 control boards”, he noted, adding: “But then, when you go away, they will bring new control boards and fix them and then off they go”.
“So, we got the report that they have immobilised over 750-something excavators. So, we appointed somebody to go round and check.
When we went round, I think we got about 150 [or] 200 that we could see”.
“The rest had either been given to their owners or they put in some extra parts and moved them away”, he pointed out.
“And, then somebody put it out there that Frimpong Boateng has taken 500 excavators.
What am I going to do with it?” he asked.
“It was an orchestrated scheme even within the party and government to get me out”, Prof Frimpong Boateng alleged, pointing out: “Why is it that when I left, now everybody is in the forest?”
“At that time, you dare not enter the forest. But, as I said, I don’t what to go into details now because I have a lot to say on that. But let me tell you that I did not take one excavator for anything. And, they know the truth”, he added.
He said: “Now, things are coming out: We know those who are behind it and the party people who are there, people in government, including Jubilee House who are doing galamsey and so on even now. So, let Frimpong Boateng be in is corner to enjoy his retirement”.