Special Prosecutor grants Prof Frimpong Boateng GH¢2 million bail
The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has clarified that it invited Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, a former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) for questioning on May 15, 2023.
This was in connection with an investigation by the OSP into the work of the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), which Prof Frimpong Boateng was chair, per his position as the then Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI).
The development followed Prof Frimpong Boateng's declaration that, he was going to cooperate fully with the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in its investigations into alleged corruption in the activities of the defunct IMCIM.
The OSP then formally invited him to assist in investigations.
Graphic Online understands that, when Prof Frimpong Boateng reported at the OSP on May 15, he was briefed about the reason for the invitation in relation to corruption and corruption-related activities.
He was also made aware of the fact that the OSP was looking at the report of the IMCIM which Prof Frimpong Boateng said he had submitted to the Presidency but not much was done about it.
After initially engaging him and a subsequent interrogation, he was told that he needed to be granted a self recognizance bail to the tune of GH¢2million, a spokesperson for the Professor told Graphic Online.
Officers from the OSP followed him to see his residence in line with the bail conditions after which, he was allowed to go.
The investigations by the OSP is still ongoing, Graphic Online understands.
When investigations started
The investigations by the OSP started in October 2022 and was part of a broad range of investigations into suspected corruption and corruption related practices into the activities of certain entities including the IMCIM and the entire illegal mining industry.
Sources have told Graphic Online that as a matter of procedure of the OSP, persons of interest in investigations were either granted bail or detained for more questioning, taking cognizant of the 48 hour period stipulated by the 1992 Constitution.
The sources said after the interrogation on the same day, May 15, Prof. Frimpong–Boateng was granted self-recognizance bail in the sum of GH¢2 million.
The sources said the OSP will soon come out with its report on the investigations into the suspected corruption and corruption –related activities in illegal mining and the activities of the IMCIM.
In a statement dated October 10, 2020 and signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, the OSP said the investigation targeted some officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission.
It also targeted the activities and expenditure of the dissolved Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), especially in respect of the seizure and management of excavators, machinery, road vehicles, and gold nuggets.
“The investigation includes the active and ongoing inquiry into allegations of use of public office for profit against Charles Bissue, during his tenure as Secretary to the IMCIM, arising from an investigative documentary titled Galamsey Fraud Part I, published by Tiger Eye P.I.
The investigation further targets the activities of Akonta Mining Limited and other companies; nationals of foreign countries allegedly involved in illegal mining; and allegations of corruption and corruption-related offences against some Municipal and District Chief Executives and political party officials,” the statement added.
The OSP had explained earlier in May 2023 that it was already investigating issues on a number of corruption offences in the mining sector in the country.
Those issues include allegations raised in a report authored by former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.
In a press statement signed and dated May 2, 2023, the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, acknowledged the recent calls from public and civil society following the publication of the report by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, who was the head of the dissolved IMCIM.
“The OSP welcomes the calls for action and investigations and it assures the public and civil society that its investigation is ongoing and far-reaching and it also covers the matters raised in the report published by the head of the dissolved IMCIM,” the statement said.
In a report presented to the Presidency in March 2021, which is currently in the public domain, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng mentioned dozens of people in the Akufo-Addo-led administration, as well as party bigwigs, as being complicit in illegal mining and frustrating the efforts of the President to combat the menace.
However, the Presidency and some of the individuals mentioned in the report have dismissed the report.
The government appointees and NPP bigwigs mentioned in the report who have refuted the allegations include the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah; the Director of Operations at the Presidency, Lord Commey, and a leading member of the NPP, Gabby Otchere-Darko.
A statement from the Presidency dismissed the report in its form and substance, and further described it as “unfounded and hearsay.”
In terms of the form, the statement said the report was not an official document, but rather a catalogue of personal grievances by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng in response to some issues during his tenure as the Chairperson of the IMCIM.
The report, the statement said, was delivered by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng to the Chief of Staff on March 21, 2021, when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo decided not to renew his mandate as a minister in his second term.
“The document did not have a transmittal or cover letter nor, indeed, an addressee, such as to suggest that it was submitted to the Chief of Staff for action.
“It is noteworthy that the IMCIM was a creation of Cabinet, and any formal report on its activities would, normally, be submitted to Cabinet through the Cabinet Secretary, or directly to the President of the Republic as Chairperson of Cabinet.
To date, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng has done neither,” the statement added.
With regard to its substance, the statement noted that although the allegations made by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng were serious, he failed to provide any shred of evidence to support them.
“It is important also to point out that while Prof. Frimpong-Boateng makes serious allegations against some government appointees, as having been involved in, supporting or interfering with the fight against illegal mining, not a single piece of evidence was adduced or presented to enable the claims to be properly investigated.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah refuted the allegations against him, stating that Prof. Frimpong-Boateng’s claim that he set out to discredit him and destroy his image was completely false.
The report, written by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, claims that Mr Oppong Nkrumah organised a secret meeting of journalists from both the NPP and NDC on February 8, 2020, at Dodowa to discuss a strategy to bring him down, which led to subsequent negative media reports about him.
The Information Minister expressed disappointment at the false claims made by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, whom, he said, he had previously held in high esteem, but asked that he left him out of his personal fights.
With regard to Mr Otchere-Darko, the report claims he called to influence the former minister on behalf of a client, which was a mining company, after Prof. Frimpong-Boateng directed the company to cease mining in a forest.
Mr Otchere-Darko refuted the allegations and questioned why the former minister did not take appropriate action, if he believed that Otchere-Darko had acted improperly.
Consequently, he has since filed a defamatory suit against Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, demanding GH¢10 million in damages.