A-G refutes NDC galamsey ‘protection’ claims
The Attorney General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has refuted claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) accusing him of ‘shielding” some bigwigs allegedly involved in illegal mining aka galamsey.
Mr Dame described the claims by the NDC as “untrue, hollow and offensive” and as part of a series of unjustified attacks against him in the discharge of his functions which the NDC “finds to be inimical to its interest.”
At a press conference last Monday, the NDC called for the immediate resignation of Mr Dame, accusing him of deliberately refusing to prosecute some bigwigs in government and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) accused by a former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, of being complicit in illegal mining and frustrating the efforts of the President to combat the menace.
Responding to the NDC’s press conference in a statement yesterday, the A-G said the NDC failed to provide any shred of evidence to support the allegations made by Prof. Frimpong- Boateng or to substantiate its claim that the he (A-G) was ‘protecting’ illegal miners.
“In spite of a multitude of allegations and invectives spewed on me by the communications officer of the NDC, not a single piece of evidence was furnished by the NDC in proof of any allegation made by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng against any person named in his report.
The entire NDC’s press conference was, in point of fact, vitiated by a fraudulent attempt at explaining their orchestrated lies and abuses against me, as they are wont to do,” the A-G said.
The press conference by the NDC followed legal advice by the Office of the A-G, signed by a Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson, which stated that Prof. Frimpong-Boateng failed to provide evidence to substantiate accusations against 12 of the 15 persons he accused of engaging or supporting illegal mining.
Mr Dame said the allegation by the NDC was a direct attack on state attorneys, who, in the presence of numerous risks, provided legal services including legal advice on dockets from the police as happened with the docket on the allegations by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng.
He said the legal advice on the report by Prof. Frimpong–Boateng was not different from the other numerous legal advice given by state attorneys which were all done in an impartial manner and faithful manner.
“It is most antithetical to national development and progress, and extremely dangerous to subject opinions given by State Attorneys, who operate under extreme pressure, to political commentary by parties seeking to score political goals, simply on account of a failure of the content of the relevant advice to feed a particular narrative desired by a political party,” Mr Dame said.
The principal legal advisor said claims that the government and his outfit had been weak on illegal mining could not be true.
He said under the administration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995) was enacted which enhanced the punishment for engaging in illegal mining from three years to 15 years for a Ghanaian and 20 years for a non-Ghanaian.
Again, he said due to prosecution by his outfit, 33 persons, including 11 foreigners, were convicted for illegal mining between August 2021 and September 2022 and are currently serving jail terms ranging from 15 to 20 years
“On August 31, 2023, the Circuit Court, Tarkwa, sentenced 25 people to various terms in prison ranging between 15 and 20 years each together with various hefty fines, following a successful prosecution by the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice,’ he added.