News that Presidential Staffer and General Secretary to the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Charles Cromwell Nanabanyin Onuawonto Bissue, had voluntarily decided to step aside, following the galamsey fraud exposé by the Tiger Eye Pi investigative team, in which he was allegedly captured on video collecting bribe, must be relieving to anti-corruption crusaders.
It must be relieving because, contrary to what had become the norm in our country, the ‘suspect’, without waiting for a presidential directive, voluntarily decided to yield to the demands of millions of Ghanaians.
He was captured, alongside other government officials receiving various sums of monies supposedly to facilitate processes and provide security for a company to start mining in the country.
In the undercover work, Bissue was playing the role of a facilitator for a company seeking to circumvent due processes to be given fast track clearance for its mining operations, and was captured in the secretly recorded video receiving wads of cash to facilitate the speedy ‘clearance’ of the company.
What was worse, he could be heard in the video instructing his subordinates to virtually accelerate the processing of the company’s documents.
Even though he had denied any wrongdoing, he went ahead to do what many see as the ‘honorable thing’ by stepping aside, pending the outcome of investigations into the allegations.
In a statement on Friday, he said: “I would like to state at the outset that I am innocent of the allegations levelled against me in the documentary, as I was not and have not been engaged in any act of corruption, criminality or misconduct.
“However, in the interest of transparency and accountability, and so not of compromise the work of the IMCIM, I have informed President Akufo-Addo, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Chairperson of the IMCIM of my decision to step aside from my position pending investigation into the issue.”
Even though several other individuals (security operatives, informants and go-betweens), precisely those connected to the Presidential Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, are seen in the video Bissue was singled out (possibly for political expediency) for lampooning because of his status.
Some people even went to the extent of calling for the dissolution of the entire IMCIM.
It is in this light that THE PUBLISHER opines that Mr. Bissue’s decision is commendable, not because he is the first person to have taken such a step, but because he has saved himself, the Presidency, and the New Patriotic Party of undue bashing from political opponents.
In the view of the paper, his decision must have left in the middle of the tracks, people who saw the exposé as an avenue to divert the nation’s attention from the threats embedded in the NDC/Ofosu-Ampofo tape.
We expect that, just as Charles Bissue took the bold step of voluntarily giving way for investigations to commence into the Tiger Eye PI work, the leaders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), including its Presidential Candidate, John Dramani Mahama, must take a cue and also advise the party’s national chairman, Samuel Oforu-Ampofo, to temporarily resign from his position until he is exonerated of the allegations in his tape.
Video or audio, every tape be tape.