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Anas exposé: How Nana Addo’s galamsey fight is being stabbed in the back

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Investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his TigerEye PI team have released an undercover investigative piece on Ghana’s mining sector.

In the latest exposé, Anas and his team exposed among other things the deep-rooted corruption hampering government’s fight against illegal mining in the country.

Anas, among other things, in the piece shamed some high profile personalities tasked to clamp down on illegal mining but failed to do so and sold their integrity for cash.

Below is part one of the piece published in the New Crusading Guide Newspaper on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

A measure to minimize the mess and menace of illegal mining in the motherland is being undermined by men mandated to manage the menace, leaving Ghana at the mercy of mercenary miners and monstrous money-grabbers within the corridors of power.

When President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government took pragmatic steps to clean the mining sector by placing a ban on illegal mining, restoring hope to many Ghanaians who care about the environment, little did we know that some of the very people entrusted with enforcing the ban will turn round to undermine it.

As the war on galamsey was declared, government decided to give a clear picture of the scope and duration of the intervention. It therefore set up the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to implement the two-year road map.

While the Committee has received plaudits in some quarters for a good job done so far, some complaints have also been heard over time about underhand dealings involving officials in charge at the IMCIM who allegedly take bribes to allow people circumvent the rules of the roadmap. In fact, some claim that one could be allowed to go on the field with excavators to mine without proper documentation and approval as prescribed by the Road Map. It is also alleged that some powerful people close to, or within the IMCIM could arrange protection for people engaged in illegal mining.

To ascertain the truth, we set out with our hidden cameras and the Crusading Guide hereby brings you documentary evidence about events that happened right at the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining offices near the Flagstaff House.

“School Boy”, as he’s widely known; a police officer in charge of the National Security at the IMCIM, was one of the people we spoke to.

We told School Boy that we were illegal miners who are already on site working. We therefore needed any assistance that would enable us to continue mining without any harassment.  The officer asked us to see a guy at the GRA who, according to him, could fast-track the preparation for our company’s registration documents. He, however, asked us to come back the following day, if the contact at GRA failed to help us. This was after School Boy has received a ‘cool’ GH¢ 500 for his help.

Without going to see the GRA officer as directed by School Boy, we went back to him (school Boy) the following day with a new request. “We have a new ‘concession’ and wanted to go ahead and mine without any interference and the hustle of acquiring any licenses.”  Once again, School Boy recommended another person to us; an IMCIM Task Force personnel by name Kobby.  According to School Boy, Kobby could be trusted with the protection of my concession to ward off attempts by the other IMCIM Task Forces from disturbing my mining activities.

“School Boy” said he was recommending Kobby to us because he (School Boy) can’t always be physically present on site or guarantee that he could be deployed to our area of operation even if he was selected to go on an operation with the Task Force.  He added that Kobby is connected to Prof Frimpong Boateng, the sector Minister, which makes it easier for him to protect my concession with little or no troubles. For connecting us to Kkobby, School Boy demanded and took GHS 500.

The said Kobby, by the way, is a kingpin in the anti-galamsey operations of the IMCIM. It was he who led the highly successful operation at Diaso, in the Amansie West District which led to the arrest of some Chinese nationals and the seizure of about 18 mining vehicles on the day of our meeting, February 12, 2019. When we met him, he readily agreed to help protect our concession to enable us mine without documents. He only demanded to know the exact location of our concession so he could track our excavators. The rest, he said, will be a matter of phone calls.

He, however, asked to be paid after the job as he took GHS 1000 from me on our first meeting in School Boy’s office at the IMCIM premises.

The following is an excerpt of what transpired during the meeting:

Kobby: and I want to make sure, all has been properly placed.

School Boy: Properly placed. He wants to go and test the land, hence, he decided to speak with the leaders (task force). So that in case of the testing, the task force might come there, Charlie, tell him. (Turns to Tiger) Where’s your concession?

Tiger: Nyinahini.

School Boy: Nyinahini?

Tiger: Nyinahini.

School Boy: But he has another one

Tiger: The other one

School Boy: He doesn’t allow them to mine when he’s there. Who, Kobby?

Tiger: Ei! Exercise some patience for us.

School Boy: we are now focusing on yours.

Tiger: Really?

Kobby: Where is the concession?

Tiger: the concession is at Nyinahini. You see, Atwima Mponua, right?

Kobby: Yes.

Tiger: On your way to Banniekrom from Nyinahini.

Kobby: Yes.

Tiger: You then turn to your left to Afipaye. That forest there.

Kobby: Afipaye? Otaakrom?

Tiger: Yes

Kobby: on your way to, okay.

Tiger: So, I wanted to consult the leaders.

Kobby: People have already mined there. And others are also mining there now.

Tiger: Yes, I have acquired a concession there but I want to know it’s genuine before investing into it.

Kobby: Yeah.

Tiger: I therefore decided to discuss with big brother (referring to School Boy) that even if I can get one month to mine. And I’ll also need your protection.

Kobby: Oh! That’s even not a problem.

School Boy: when it comes to this, he’s the ‘go-to’ guy.

Tiger: that’s why I’m explaining to him, so that, Master (referring to Kobby), ask him (School Boy), I was here yesterday when I had a call in relation to one of my concessions yesterday. I flew to Kumasi and returned. Who had caused it should something had happened to me? That Diaso operation, in which some Chinese were arrested,

School Boy: Ah! He brought them.

Kobby: I brought them myself.

School Boy: that’s what I was telling you.

Tiger: So, I told him to be very sure of whatever he tells me because I might have died for nothing should something have happened on the flight. So, that’s what I wanted to

Kobby: Ah! Is that the Tamoa area?

Tiger: you see the Afipaye forest. I have just gone for that concession, so,

Kobby: Is it Omane’s place?

Tiger: I don’t really know.

Kobby: Really?

Tiger: It’s Doover Resources. It’s a concession in that area and I have taken over but I want to know whether it’s good because I don’t want to invest wrongly. I would’ve even left today if you had been here early. So that I could’ve gone to arrange my things

School Boy: Master (Tiger), you better know your timing well and also, I won’t come to your rescue should you be arrested while there.

Tiger: Ah! Why won’t you come to my rescue?

School Boy: Ah! So, stop talking about the timing. Don’t talk about the time.

Tiger: Yes. I am discussing with him. Oh! You sometimes jump in to mess up things.

Kobby: it’s not a problem for me. Is it not you, an African, who is going to mine?

Tiger: It’s me.

Kobby: (chuckles) Master, go and do your work.

School Boy: Collect his contact number and speak with him always. Whatever you’ll give him, give it to him. He won’t leave me out while spending. He’ll call me as soon as you deposit (the money). I’m not afraid of him.

Kobby: Okay, flash. And have you seen the DCE at that place?

Tiger: that’s what I’m saying. That I’ve just acquired the concession, hence, I’m now putting in, I should’ve left today.

Kobby: it’s not a problem at all. And I am in charge of the District Mining Committee in that area.

School Boy: but that one would start from next month, right?

Kobby: Yes.

School Boy: the one for the community.

Kobby: Yes, the one for the community.

School Boy: I heard something like that. Try and sort the boys out.

Kobby: Ah!

School Boy: Get some for them.

School Boy: Uhh! Ei! Place something (Money) on his laps. When he leaves after placing something on his laps, I’ll then deal with you.

Tiger: You want to paralyse me here, right? Don’t break my legs here, please.

School Boy: we might be there this week.

Kobby: The Assemblyman in that area, do you know the assemblyman for that area, or?

Tiger: No. Everything will now be in your hands. Because as things have turned out now

School Boy: Yes. He’ll be leading you.

Tiger: Yes. I have to rely on you in every decision I take.

Kobby: You make your enquiries and let me know the exact

Tiger and School Boy: Location

Kobby: location.

Tiger: okay, okay, okay.

Kobby: Yeah. No matter what, master, you will enter.

School Boy: I might be in town this week too.

Kobby: what are they even implying? (Tiger hands over GH¢ 1000 to Kobby which is placed on his laps as School Boy said)

School Boy: Kobby, take this for fuel.

Tiger: this is something small for you.

Kobby: If you had waited for us to finish with the assignment,

Tiger: So, Kobby, how are we going to go about?

Kobby: You first get me the location. All the things would just be a matter of phone calls after I’ve been given the location.

Tiger: Okay. I’ve heard you.

Kobby: Yes. After getting it for me, most of the remaining will be a matter of phone call.

Tiger: okay, okay. So, you, up to, I’m going to the place myself. I’ll have even left with a flight but I don’t know if I can get one by now.

School Boy and Kobby: you won’t get a flight by this time, unless in the morning with the first flight.

Tiger: So, I’ll leave and inform you of whatever will be the development.

Kobby: Don’t panic of the aftermath. You, after getting it for me

School Boy: You, don’t worry when he’s not been able to answer your calls

Tiger: Alright

Kobby: You, don’t bother yourself with calling the DCE and the other issues.

Tiger: Okay. Alright, alright.

Kobby: The DCE is a moron, when you go to him

School Boy: You might be in trouble

Tiger: he’ll prolong the issue.

School Boy: He might call to tell him that he’s sending one of his boys to that place.

Tiger: I’ve heard you. Okay, thank you.

Kobby: Don’t panic of the aftermath, we’ll work.

Tiger: and you’ll be accordingly rewarded when we start.

Kobby: Don’t panic. I’m always on the go.

Tiger: now that you are ceasing machines,

School Boy: we’ll wake up even when we are asleep when you are giving us money. My said, if you give me food to eat, why won’t I wake up open when you knock on my door?

Kobby: why won’t you wake up?

School Boy: I’ll wake up even if it’s 2am.

Tiger: you at least know something good might come out of it.

School Boy: That’s it.

Kobby: why would I stop my fellow black person from mining even when I’m fighting for other foreign nationals?

School Boy: you see what I told you? You can do the work.

Tiger: yes (Tiger brings out GH¢ 500 from his bag). I have to (School boy mutters something) Yes, I’ll talk to him. (Tiger hands over the money to School Boy which he collects without delay) take this GH¢ 500 for fuel this evening. Let me return from Kumasi

School Boy: go and come.

Meanwhile, I had before my meeting with School Boy and Kobby, met with Charles Cromwell Nanabanyin Onuawonto Bissue, a Presidential Staffer and Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, and he took cash amounting to GH¢ 35,000 in three meetings through Andy Owusu. This was to ascertain whether there really are shortcuts to mining illegally in Ghana after the ban and institution of the Road Map.

Armed with a mining company called ORR Resources Enterprise which has its document out of date and owner not in Ghana, we first met Andy Owusu, who was highly connected in the ruling NPP Government and was willing to link us to the people upstream demanding cash for that transaction. Andy charged money alleged to be for one Charles Bissiw and for himself. After the agreement, he too took a forward payment of GHS 5000 for himself and led us to meet Charles Bissiw.

Andy, in all our meetings sternly warned us never to ever let it cross our minds that we’ve given money to Bissiw let alone mention it to the hearing of somebody. “And you haven’t also given anything to Bissiw. No, no. You can go to him and say Andy asked me to bring you this, that’s different. That will make him feel comfortable. But I don’t want you to say that you’ve given Bissiw money. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Andy warned. “And don’t also tell someone that you gave him something when you came here”, he said after our first meeting with Bissue.

He took GH¢ 5000 on three occasions, amounting to GHS 15000 including the first GHS 5000 as part payments of his GHS 50000 charge which was later bargained to GHS 40000 in another meeting.

Andy, on behalf of Bissiw, initially charged GHS 100000 out of which GHS 50000 will be given to Bissiw and the rest for himself, “Owusu discussed 100000 with me. 50 for Bissiw, and the other 50 for me. I won’t take any other thing”, he said. Andy went ahead to lead the first meeting in which he presented my expired license to Bissiw and later GHS 15000 part-payment of the charged GH¢ 50000 to Bissiw.

Excerpts of our meeting is below:

Tiger: Oh! No. This is 15. That is what Owusu discussed with me.

Andy: Is that what Owusu told you? Oh! Owusu

Tiger: Owusu mentioned 15 to me.

Andy: Owusu mentioned 15 to you?

Tiger: Owusu mentioned 15 to me.

Andy: So, how much are you going to give him after everything?

Tiger: we are going to add 35 to it after everything.

Andy: what about me?

Tiger: I’ll give you money. I’ll let to spend money.

Andy: No, no one gives me money to spend. I’m asking how much you will give me after everything?

Tiger: I’ll add 5000 to it for you.

Andy: I won’t accept 5000.

Tiger: how much will you accept?

Andy: I’m leading you to this wealth

Tiger: how much will you accept?

Andy: Don’t you have a black poly bag?

Tiger: No.

Andy: let’s get one for the money as we drive on.

Tiger: the 5000 is not being given to you to end our relationship with you. When we start mining

Andy: no, no. how much would you give me after getting the license?

Tiger: that’s what I’m saying that I’ll give you 5000 and after that

Andy: No, no. 5000 isn’t pleasant. After that then what?

Tiger: okay, okay. We are brothers now so, tell me what you want.

Andy: we are brothers now. Owusu discussed 100000 with me. 50 for Bissiw, and the other 50 for me. I won’t take any other thing. I will not be responsible for the hotel expenses because I came to work.

Tiger: No, no. We brought you here.

Andy: Yes, that expenses won’t be mine. Then after everything, you promised me 50 and now you are saying 5000.

“Also this is one of Chairman’s boys”, Andy introduces Tiger to Bissiw in their first meeting. He continued, “There’s this work that they are doing for him but they are having issues with their license, so, Chairman asked me to come and see you so that you will help resolve it for him. So, we won’t waste much of your time and Chairman also asked us to bring to you your Christmas gift“, Andy hands over the license to Charles which he gladly collects without delay.

Charles Onuawonto Bissiw, also the Western Regional Secretary of the ruling NPP, after glancing through my expired license agreed to help me mine by providing me with a sticker while I await the renewal of my license. He also ordered for my expired license to be reactivated for about two months to enable me mine as my documents are being worked on even after getting to know I have no legal documents to protect me.

“Tiger: so, does it mean, we can start mining while they are working on it?

Charles: that’s what I’m saying. If you are in Accra, you’ll be directed within this week for whatever you need to do. Do you have a sticker?

Tiger: Actually, all the items

Andy: you don’t have.

Charles: have you been here for vetting?

Tiger: No.

Charles: they’ve not mapped your concession?

Tiger: No.

Charles: So, they are going to do all that, they will check all the mapping, do you understand it.

Tiger: yes.

Charles: Then they’ll give you certain sticker here. When you are through with all these, they’ll give you a certain sticker.

Charles: Oh! Charlie, Ralph. This is the guy who developed the “GalamSTOP”. Even Americans came but they said they couldn’t. Each license was valid at 12th of March.

Ralph: Mh-hm.

Charles: So, he has a grace period, am I right?

Ralph: Yes.

Charles: 2012. So, it’s due to expire in 2017. And the ban came, so, he has about one month or two months more. So, I want you to activate it, then if you see the EPA to be. So, as you do that, the renewal will also be setting in. Before the renewal comes then you do it, please. Please, direct him on those things.  The EPA and the other things should be checked for him too.”

We were meanwhile reliably informed that we’re supposed to provide certain information about the owner of the concession after which we’ll pay GHS 3000 for mapping, possess a Power of Attorney to enable us represent the rightful owner of the concession at a vetting before we can have our company’s name enlisted for EPA, Minerals Commission, Water Resources Commission and Forestry Commission certificates. It was after successfully completing these processes that we could be given and a sticker which permits us to mine on the concession.

Bissiw, in our three meetings asked Ralph, the developer of the GalamSTOP software at the IMCIM, and a certain lady they addressed as Doctor/Naa at the IMCIM to make sure they fast-track the procedure for us to get our Sticker after providing the information about the owner of the concession and asking us to pay the GHS 3000 for the mapping. This was when we told him we were about to move our excavators to our concession in our second meeting with him even though our documents were not intact.

Below is an excerpts of our conversation transcribed:

“Tiger: okay. The requirements you asked us to work on, we went to work on it and I had a discussion with Ralph on it. We are now left with the TIN number but our registration is the old type which we are still working on it and even discussed with Andy. But we now wanted to send the machine to the concession site, so, Andy suggested we inform you first as we can’t proceed without informing you.

Charles: Should you go to the concession site now, he’ll have to give you a sticker right? The sticker, ask Ralph to give you someone. We have someone who works on the TIN.

Tiger: Oh! Okay.

Charles: Ah! Ralph, so, has he done all the other things for you?

Tiger: No, he hasn’t. They are asking for the TIN to come.

Charles: Yes. So, what did he say was the problem with the TIN?

Tiger: Ours is the old registration, so, we don’t have the TIN.

Charles: But that shouldn’t keep long time. Because you know I’m here to make sure you fast track everything.

Tiger: Yeah.

Charles: so, when it comes to something else, then I‘ll instruct them as to how to do it for me.

Tiger: (Bringing out the uncovered money) oh! Me too, then I wanted

Charles: oh! You bring it here (gets up to open a drawer for the money to be dropped in).

Tiger: this (the money) is something little.

Charles: okay (collects the money and drops it into the drawer).

Tiger: okay. I’ll leave. So, I’ll inform you of whatever happens tomorrow.

Charles: Uhuhh!”

During our second meeting, Charles opened a drawer and asked that we drop in it an amount of GH¢ 10000 which he was being offered, explaining that the money wasn’t covered and there were people around.  Afterwards, he ordered that our company’s name be added to the list for EPA Certificate even though we had not gone through vetting and possessed no Power of Attorney as the concession wasn’t ours in our third meeting. This was when we had told him that our excavators had already been moved to the concession with no legal documents.

Excerpts of the transcribed conversation with Charles are as below:

“Tiger: Ei! Okay. I’ve being working on my deal with Ralph and I have even sent the machines to the place.

Charles: Which machine? Is it the excavator?

Tiger: Yes the excavator.

Charles: have they tracked it?

Tiger: yeah. So, I want you to know about everything, since, you are my father who has been leading me through this. So, are you through with your documentations?

Tiger: I’m through with everything. Everything has been linked.

Charles: Including the EPA?

Tiger: You asked Ralph to take over.

Charles: Yes.

Tiger: So, Ralph is taking over with those things.

Charles: I see.

Tiger: So, I was here last Monday to inform the lady about how far I have gone.

Charles: Is it Doctor?

Tiger: No, no, no.

Charles: Okay, Dorothy.

Tiger: as for this work, it’s, I even called Andy to inform him of my coming here. (Tiger takes out GHS 10000 from his bag and hands it to Charles). This is something small for you.

Charles: (Charles receives the money and places it on a table behind him while he calls Ralph to find out about Tiger’s company.) Ralph, (asks Tiger) please, what’s the name of your company?

Tiger: ORR

Charles: ORR mining, where have you gotten to?

Ralph: Please, give me one minute, just one minute, just one minute.

Charles: Should I be on the line then?

Ralph: Yes, please. I just want to, I just want to check something.

Charles: Okay. (Someone knocks on the door) Hello.

Ralph:  Yeah, hello, a jiffy.

Charles: Dorothy is even in.

Ralph: Oh! Okay.

Charles: Dorothy is aware of it right?

Ralph: Yes. Dorothy is aware of it.

Charles: (Asks Dorothy) What’s happening with ORR Mining?

Dorothy: it’s left with the TIN.

Tiger: No, everything has being done.

Dorothy: you’ve linked the TIN?

Tiger: yes.

Doroty: Uhh! Okay. The internet is slow not downloading, so, we are not able to verify it. So, that one if it’s okay I’ll download and verify.

Charles: So, the only thing is the TIN?

Dorothy: Yes.

Charles: but you’ve done the EPA?

Dorothy: No. he’s not submitted the EPA. Only the license.

Charles: the license?

Dorothy: yes.

Charles: so, he can go to the EPA now?

Dorothy: that one, unless Doc adds his name to the list.

Charles: but now that that is done, he can add his name to the list and he can go the EPA. Is that not so?

Dorothy: But that one, he has to be vetted and the concession has to be mapped.

Charles: the concession, it’s going to be mapped next week. They are going to mapped next week, so, give, I’ll speak to Doc but tell Doc. Give the name to Doc that I said he should add it. And then he’ll pay the 3000 for the mapping. (Turns to Tiger) you’ll give them 3000 and they’ll give you a receipt.

Tiger: okay.

Charles: (Turns to Dorothy) let him do that now and then give him to Doc. Doc will call me. The mapping is being processed. Then show him to apply, (Turns to Tiger) then apply for the EPA.

Tiger: Alright.

Charles: do you get it?

Tiger: Alright.

Charles: the EPA, I’ll, Doc will do it for you.

Tiger: okay.

Charles: I think Doctor is coming back, (turns to the phone to speak with Ralph who has being on the line for all this while) Ralph, are you there?

Ralph: Yes, please.

Charles: I think he’s almost through. Okay?

Ralph: okay.

Charles: So, I think he’ll pay for the mapping. I’ve asked the mapping team to go. I’m embarking on a journey right now.

Ralph: Okay.

Charles: the mapping team should leave next week, then add his name and call EPA to fast-track it for him because he has already done everything.

Ralph: Okay.

Charles: You are aware his has a limited time so he can go back and mine.

Ralph: Yes.

Charles: have you given him a sticker and everything?

Ralph: Come again.

Charles: Have you given him a sticker?

Ralph: No. I’ll do that when we are done with everything.

Charles: Okay. Then let’s talk to Naa, I’ll call Naa (Doc) now to make sure she’s done it for him.

Ralph: Alright.

Charles: Okay. (Turns to Dorothy) Direct him to see the accountant. Let me call Naa.

Dorothy: Let’s go.

Tiger: I’ll be with you.

Charles: he’ll be with you soon, okay?

Dorothy: Okay.

Charles: I’ll ask her to attend to you. So, I’ll let you wait for her.

Tiger: Oh! So, you are already on your way?

Charles: yes. I’m going for my luggage and inform the Chief of staff of my departure.

Tiger: Oh! Okay. This is just GHS 10000, so, should there be anything.

Charles: (still tries to get Doc on the phone) what time are you coming? Okay. There’s a gentleman here, I have asked someone to wait for you. When he comes, they are working on all his things for him, so, see to it that his sticker is given to him and also quickly call the EPA to fast-track his things for him, okay. This is because he’s left with just two months on his document, okay. Okay, so, he’s waiting for you. She’ll be with you in 45 minutes.

Charles: (Charles gets off his seat, picks the money from the table and pockets it) What language were you speaking (now). I thought you spoke Hausa.

Tiger: No, no, no. I was also saying, when we start by God’s Grace, we won’t forget you.

Charles: I’ve heard you. So, I hope your land is one concession?

Tiger: Yes.

Charles: Give them 3000 and take receipts. Show the receipts to Doc.

Tiger: Okay.

The GH¢3000 meant for the mapping of the concession was finally paid to the accountant at the IMCIM office and the four copies of the sticker with embossments of The Presidency, Minerals Commission, Water Resources Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Commission, and a QR Code indicating our Concession number on it were handed over to us on the orders of Charles Bissiw a day later.

This means we now have acquired the permission to mine having circumvented the statutory procedures including vetting. We were only asked to provide Concession Owner’s Information and pay GH¢ 3000 to indicate late submission of our document.

It should be noted as well that, the concession in question wasn’t ours, so we would have presented a Power of Attorney even before the vetting.  We leave this huge favour done to ORR Resources Enterprise to readers’ judgment.

It is however clear the investigation that some of the people that have been positioned to see to the success of the anti-galamsey crusade connive with other interested parties to promote illegal mining on the blind side of the genuine crusaders.

From the receptionist at the IMCIM through the national security at the IMCIM and the Jubilee House and the IMCIM Task Force, people are ready to contribute in every way possible to help illegal mining in order to enrich themselves.

Jimmy, always seen at the reception, was already on the prowl for information from the IMCIM Task Force to relay it illegal miners to alert them to planned operations by the IMCIM Task Force. And he certainly does not offer this intelligent service for free.

Bimpong, a military man stationed at the IMCIM office as part of the National Security and was part of the first Operation Vanguard personnel, was also willing to link us to some of the IMCIM Task Force who can grant us protection while we mine illegally. He quizzed, “who will arrest someone who is willing to give out 1 billion (GHS 100000) for his protection?”

Baffuor, just like School Boy, a police officer stationed at the IMCIM office as part of the National Security, connected us to two other police officers, Ken and Annor – stationed at the Jubilee House and made us understood that they are part of the IMCIM Task Force.  This was after Baffuor had confirmed in a phone conversation with Ken that it’s what they’ve being doing. “Just like what you were doing for Evans”, he explained to Ken on the phone.

Over kebab, Coca Cola and Malta Guiness at Afrikiko Restaurant, Ken and Annor, who Baffuor described as ‘Hot Cakes’ in the provision of protection for illegal miners, were ever ready to provide us with all the protection we needed for our illegal mining. They went ahead to reveal to us that they operate with the blessings and the support of their superiors as they reciprocate their bosses actions by sending GHS 10,000 to them at the end of every month. They also told us that they took GHS 2000 every month for each person that will be posted to a concession for protection and an additional GHS 300 for the person every week. These charges, they intend to review very soon.

The following is an excerpt of our transcribed conversation with Ken, Annor and Baffuor at Afrikiko Restaurant:

Tiger: It’s a concession and we need protection.

Ken: We normally move with the army either in twos, threes or fours; that’s one. We also have to put in a word on your behalf with that man so that you’ll prepare a package so that they won’t come there while we are there.

Tiger: Alright.

Ken: We also have an amount of money we bring to the office in our work. So, that’s it. We have an amount that we bring to that office.

Tiger: Okay.

Ken: We always bring GH¢ 10000 to the office.

Tiger: Okay.

Ken: And each person that will be on your concession will be given GHS 300 every week.

Tiger: GH¢ 300, okay.

Ken: And GH¢ 2000 for a month.

Tiger: okay.

Ken: We were even planning to increase it at where we were. We were going to discuss with them to increase it but we left the place leaving a group behind.

Tiger: okay.

Ken: We have left them to continue because there’s a new company that we have to cater for here. So, you must have this foreknowledge if you really want to do it. That will help you know the number of people you can take.

Tiger: Yeah. That’s what I was earlier asking of.

Ken: But are you cordial with the local people?

Baffuor: Are you there?

Tiger: Yes, please.

Baffuor: Okay, I’m also around that area. I’m at the overhead.

Tiger: okay, okay. But can’t we do anything about the charges?

Ken: We even want to add something to it.

Tiger: You want to add to it?

Ken: Yes. If I won’t encounter any problem,

Annor: Oh! No, no. in case, you see, when you have someone of a higher authority behind you and you encounter any problem

Tiger: Yeah, that’s right.

Annor: And if even there’s nothing at all, he’s also taking his share of the money. Yeah.

Ken: You must also be introduced to the leader of the task force team in the area.

Tiger: Okay.

Ken: Do you understand it? Let me be honest with you, we normally hide behind someone in a higher authority for him to call to inform them that his boy is working at this place to prevent them from disturbing you.

Tiger: okay, okay, okay.

Ken: but it all has to do with money. Do you understand it? That man here who will call to, good evening,

The only one we can reduce is the amount that will be sent to the office. But even with that, the service cars like this

Tiger: That’s the same cars you’ll be using for the work.

Ken: the driver for the car must be sorted out when he sees the car out and that must come from the money that will be sent to the office.

Our spirits also attract gold, so you will get more of the gold when we are there.

Tiger: God should bless that.

Annor: Everybody must be satisfied in this line of work.

Ken: the Chairman for the Minerals Commission, SK Boafo is like a father to me, and there’s a geologist at that place, before you will be approved for a concession to be given, the geologist must work on it for the board to sit on and approve of it first. Some of them are denied but the one that I went to work on just now, he (SK Boafo) called a geologist at the place and told me to ask my people to use that geologist tomorrow when we get there. This is because much of the people are not well versed in the work. He’s also a very good friend with Charles Bissiw and can make a call to him right now to him to give you anything that must be done for you.

Tiger: Okay. (Gives money to all three) Take this, just for something, okay?

Ken: We are ready to move when you are ready.

Each of these persons took some money from us in our meetings

In another development, mining vehicles and guns belonging to a mining group headed by another Inter-Ministerial Task Force personnel by the name Abu Asibi, a retired military man in charge of Inter-Ministerial Task Force operating in the Amansie Central District, was seized by the Amansie Central District DCE in one of the forests where illegal mining was being carried out.

It was explained by a reliable source that, the Abu-led Task Force after chasing away illegal miners from various concessions, especially, those in the prohibited forest, will return to mine on the abandoned concessions as they carried out their operations.

The Amansie Central DCE, Hon. Kwame Asamoah Boateng, was therefore informed of this development by a whistle blower. When the information turned out to be true, the men working for Abu were arrested.  -led Inter-Ministerial Task Force  on the taken-over concession and some military men who were providing protection for these workers and the concession. Some tipper trucks and guns were also ceased with the truck parked at the Amansie Central District Assembly office and the guns handed over to the Amansie Central Police Command.

DCE: As for Abu, I’m not getting through to him, neither do I know the time he’ll be available. I learnt he said he won’t be here again since he’s been here already. He’s very furious. He was at the commander’s place three days ago but didn’t get his stuff. He didn’t get them yesterday too when he went there and he’s been here today too. He’s then shown them a letter that it’s coming from Frimpong Boateng to be given to me.

Tiger: to be given to you.

DCE: Yes.

Tiger: What was their crime?

DCE: They were in the forest and we arrested. They take over when they drive you away.

Tiger: Uhhh!

DCE: They take over when they drive you away and someone gave me a tip off. So, I asked some military men to follow up on it and they found out it was true. Some of the military men were guarding them and they also brought the car here.

Tiger: So, they were also operating with some of the military men?

DCE: But they are the same people the forest. So, I also informed the forestry when the tip-off was given. The Forestry Commission then arrested the military men when they arrived. This is all that took place. So, the military man has been allowed to go with a warning not to go there again and it’s now the forestry that is discussing it. He’s now very furious questioning the authority of the DCE.

TIGER: Ah!

DCE: That I should arrest cease and refuse to release things belonging to someone at the ministry under GalamSTOP, who is higher than I am.

We also decided to go to certain areas of the country to see how bad the galamsey situation was. We were in Prestea in the Western Region. We moved to Ashanti and Brong Ahafo too. We picked the coordinates of places where we saw illegal mining activities and took it to the Minerals Commission for verification and the result was very alarming.

This is just a first in our series on illegal mining.  There would be more coming soon.

May God Almighty make every Ghanaian fearless and honest to uplift our national flag.

Meanwhile, all attempts by this paper to have Mr Charles Bissiw respond to the video proved futile as calls to his 0554… telephone were not answered. Also, text message to the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining secretary was never responded to.

Read the text message our deputy editor, Ernest Addo sent to Mr Bissiw at 02:01pm yesterday: Good day Mr. Bisiw, pls, your earliest response to our call would enable us present a balanced story to our cherished readers tomorrow, in a video documentary done by Tiger Eye, in which video you were captured allegedly taking money to help get stickers to mine. For ease of answering however, you could field answers to these our questions so we could present it as your side of the story:

Have you ever met anyone from Orr Resources Enterprise?

Do you know anyone by name Thomas Andy Owusu?

Did you ever have any deal with Andy to help Orr Resource Enterprise?

If you did what was the deal?

Did you ever receive money from Orr Resources and what was it for?

My name is Ernest Addo, the deputy Editor of the New Crusading GUIDE and Tiger Eye.

 

By: Anas Aremeyaw Anas

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