The ruling New Patriotic Party has put up a spirited defence for embattled minister of Environment, Science and Innovation, Prof Frimpong Boateng in relation to the missing excavators scandal.
The NPP Director of communications Yaw Buaben Asamoah told journalists at parliament Thursday, that the murky issues raging has not affected the integrity of the Minister.
“Prof. Frimpong raised that matter himself, nobody did that for him. So far as I’m concerned, Prof. Boateng’s integrity is intact. So the question is what do you do after he raised the matter? the fact is some of the excavators have been found and people have been arrested and some of those people including the ruling party members,” he noted.
The minister in a viral video is heard discussion ways to allocate concessions to members of the NPP ostensibly to raise funds to shore up the party’s activities ahead of this year’s elections.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has called for the immediate arrest of the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, for breaching the mining laws of the land and paving the way for others to illegally mine the gold deposits to enrich themselves at the expense of the state.
In the view of the Minority, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng should be the first person to be arrested since he has full knowledge of the mining laws but decided to act otherwise when the excavators were seized.
Addressing journalists on the arrest of six persons in connection with the missing excavators on the sidelines of Parliamentary sitting, Wednesday, the Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee, Adam Mutawakilu, said the mining laws of the land is explicit on what to do when an excavator and or equipment and products are seized from illegal mining operators.
According to him, when excavators and or equipment and products are seized, the law demands that they should be kept in the custody of the Police for keeping.
He therefore cannot believe why Prof. Frimpong-Boateng could give a contrary directive to that provision in the mining law, stressing that had it not been greed and the desire to enrich himself at the expense of the state, such directive wouldn’t have been given.
“If you follow the Mineral and Mining Act as amended in 2015, under President Mahama, Section 99(5), it is clear as to where a seized excavator or confiscated excavator should be put. It is stated clearly that when equipment or products (products means semi-processed gold or other mineral) is seized, it should be kept under the custody of the Police. And in this case the law was put aside and Minister, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng decided to have his own law as to where the excavators should be put because of the intention to ensure that these excavators get vanished for their own selfish interest”, he noted.
He added “Section 99(7) of the same Minerals and Mining Act, as amended in 2015, indicated what should be done to confiscated equipment. That within 60 days, the Minister should distribute or allocate this to public institutions and gazette it for the public to have full knowledge of where these equipment are. As speak, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng hasn’t implemented it. We now know that the bigwigs included the General Secretary of NPP, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Wontumi, Charles Bissiw and even the Minister himself all have concessions and some of the confiscated excavators including SUVs and pickups and that is quite embarrassing”.
On Monday, February 3, 2020, the CID picked up the suspended Central Regional 1st Vice-Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Ekow Ewusi, for interrogation over his role in the missing excavators and other equipment seized from illegal miners.
His arrest was triggered by a request from the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, to the Director General, CID Headquarters, Accra, to commence investigations into the missing excavators and some other equipment.
“Mr. Ekow Ewusi was contracted to cart excavators and other vehicles and pieces of equipment seized by Operation Vanguard to designated areas for safe keeping. We have received information that he sent an unknown number of equipment to unauthorized locations, including one in Tema. This was confirmed by the caretaker of the depot in Tema. Information reaching me indicates that he has sold an unknown number of the pieces of equipment, including excavators. I wish to appeal to the Police Authorities to investigate the matter”, the letter dated February 3, 2020, and requesting the Police to probe into matter in part read.
The Police Service has subsequently issued a statement announcing the arrest of Mr. Ekow Ewusi and five other persons in connection with the missing excavators.