The Minority in Parliament is demanding the arrest of a leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Gabby Otchere-Darko and Director of Operations at the Presidency Lord Commey for being mentioned in the report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) authored by former Minister for Science and Technology, Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.
Addressing a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday, June 13, Ranking Member of the Lands and Forestry Committee, Rashid Pelpuo said the government must do this to demonstrate its commitment to fighting illegal small-scale mining (Galamsey).
“If the president wants to demonstrate seriousness in the fight against galamsey, it must go beyond the arrest of Professor Frimpong-Boateng and go wider by ensuring the arrest of government and Jubilee House appointees at the heart of government which includes Mr Gabby Octhere-Darko who is the president’s cousin, the director of operations Mr Lord Commey including Joseph Albert Quarm who have all been cited by the report.
“It is our opinion that the public inquiry on the committee’s report and damage to our forest reserves is necessary, especially with the now wider destruction of our lands and rivers by galamsey operators,” Mr Pelpuo said.
Some of the people who were captured in the report have sued Prof Frimpong-Boateng for defamation.
These people include former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute Gabby Otchere-Darko, the head of the Presidential Security detail, Captain (rtd) Edmund Kwadwo Koda and one John Ofori-Atta who were all captured in the report.
Lord Commey also denied involvement in galamsey.
He said in a statement that “For purposes of setting the records straight, I wish to state without shred of doubt that I have never engaged in or supported illegal mining as contained in the said report.
There is no point prior, during and after the appointment of the said Minister have I called, text or even assigned anyone to seek favour in respect of engaging in illegal mining to warrant his unsubstantiated allegations against me.
“I therefore challenge him to prove beyond reasonable doubts claims I was either promoting or engaging in illegal mining or I would use available legal means to protect my hardwon reputation.”
Reacting to the lawsuits, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said he was ready to handle them .
He was asked whether he has seen all the suits, especially the one from Captain (rtd) Koda which came out on Wednesday, June 7,
Prof Frimpong Boateng told TV3’s Alfred Ocansey on the Ghana Tonight Show on Wednesday, June 7 that
“I have seen it and my lawyers are dealing with it.“… I was served this afternoon, he says I have defamed him, same as Gabby Otchere-Darko and there is a third one John Ofori-Atta the former National Security Coordinator for Central Region, he was also captured in the report, I am ready for them.
I don’t deny the report, I wrote the report but I have not published any report, the report was meant for the presidency and not for public consumption.”
Prof Frimpong-Boateng was arrested by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
The renowned heart surgeon was put under investigation following an invitation given to him by the Office weeks ago.
He was invited on corruption and corruption-related activities, particularly over his report on the dissolved Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
He was also arrested for alleged involvement in the missing of some 500 excavators and the involvement Symphony Limited, the company owned by his son, in illegal mining.
He has been granted bail.