A Ghanaian presidential staffer has been indicted for taking bribe to help circumvent efforts by Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo to fight illegal mining.
Charles Cromwell Bissue who doubles as Secretary to Ghana’s Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was captured on tape taking bribe to promote illegal mining.
He was caught on the said tape in an investigative piece by under-cover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas fronting for a company seeking to sidestep legal procedures to get clearance and the necessary permit for its mining operation.
The investigative work was broadcast on several local TV stations. Bissue was seen receiving “wads of cash to facilitate the speedy ‘clearance’ of a mining company in order that it can begin mining as soon as possible”.
He is also heard in the video instructing his subordinates over the phone to “fast track” the processing of the company’s documents, the state-owned Daily Graphic reports.
Ghana’s President set the committee Bissue works for to supervise the ban on small scale mining.
Such mining activities were said to be responsible for the destruction to Ghana’s water bodies and environment.
More state officials indicted
Many others linked to the work of the Committee are also seen in the video playing “facilitating” roles at negotiated fees.
There are security operatives, informants and go-betweens who offer to provide the company with information on the movements of a security task force against illegal miners.
Others also offer to provide armed guards for the company’s concession.
Govt to examine raw investigative footage
Ghana’s Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on Thursday said government would examine the raw footage of the investigative piece to make an informed decision.
He told journalists in Accra that “We are happy to receive whatever help anybody has. We are a nation of men of different backgrounds who work in pursuant of the state agenda.
“We will not give timelines, the point we want to make clearly is that there is a documentary out there, there are some raw footage that serves as the basis to it. It’s of interest to the state and we will examine it.”
Oppong Nkrumah said the work of the committee would continue until otherwise thought by President Akufo-Addo.
“Work proceeds until we are told otherwise by our principals. So the work proceeds, if in the process of the fight there is information out there that somebody has compromised the fight, it is important to have access to it and to examine and then to take necessary actions,” he said.
Petition Ghana’s Special prosecutor
In the meantime, Anas Aremeyaw Anas says he would petition the office of Ghana’s Special Prosecutor to investigate the suspects who were caught circumventing the President’s anti-illegal mining campaign.
“The team will Send a petition to the office of the Special Prosecutor, which I believe is ready, and the team is ready to deliver to the office of the special prosecutor who has the mandate to investigate such things,” a lawyer of the ace investigative journalist told private radio station Starr FM on Thursday.
“The petition says some people have been exposed in bribery and corruption and thwarting the state’ effort at fighting illegal mining,” he added.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas is a well-known undercover journalists whose reporting has exposed a lot of corrupt individuals in Ghana and beyond.