Cousin to President Nana Akufo Addo and senior partner of Africa Legal Associates, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has described as silly, an account suggesting that a former minister reported him (Gabby) to the president for interfering with the galamsey fight.
“He is going to report me to the president as if he is a teacher, and the president is a master and I am what? A school prefect and I have done something wrong. What kind of silliness is that?” He fumed
The influential member of the New Patriotic Party was responding to a report by Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng a former minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations who chaired an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
In the report gone viral, the former Minister recounted an instance when Mr. Otchere Darko called to question his decision to order for the dislodgment of equipment of a Mining Company Imperial Heritage which Prof. Frimpong Boateng argues was mining illegally with a prospecting license in forest reserves.
Excerpts of the report pointed out, “We were ready to dislodge Imperial Heritage from Kobro Forest when Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko called to inform me that he was the lawyer for Heritage Imperial Limited, a company that was destroying the Kobro and Apaprama Forest Reserves and in the process had also polluted and diverted the course of the River Offin, as can be seen in the satellite images below.”
The report further added, “I informed the President about the behavior of Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and he promised to deal with it.”
This appeared to have angered Mr. Otchere Darko who contended in an interview with Citi FM’s Vivian Kai Lokko that the Minister only demonstrated his lack of appreciation of his own office.
He explained that contrary to the notion created, his call to the minister was to enquire why the minister had taken action against his client who had painstakingly acquired all the licenses and permits from legally clothed entities to perform legitimate operations at the said location.
“Heritage had a mining exploration permit issued in July 2019, a forest entry permit issued in November 2018, and also an EPA permit yet the soldiers went and seized the equipment of Heritage and so I called the soldiers and was told that it was the Minister who had sanctioned them and so I asked the Minister what the issue was with the equipment seizures and the Minister said they were prospecting and not exploring and that was the conversation that we had.
“My intervention was to understand why a legitimate company with all the requisite permits was stopped from doing their work and that is what lawyers do.” Gabby cleared.
Mr. Otchere Darko is not the only person to be mentioned in the leaked report which is said to have been submitted to the president in the year 2021.
The report which has caught the eye of environmental conservationists and anticorruption advocates, fingers all manner of government appointees all the way to the presidency for participating directly and indirectly in the wanton destruction of Ghana’s forest reserves, arable lands and water bodies in search for gold.
“I can state without any equivocation that many party officials from the national to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers, or relatives engaged in illegal mining. Most of them engaged Chinese working for them.
“There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace,” parts of the document asserted.
It comes few days after an Aljazeera Investigative Report flagged Ghana as a major transit point for gold dealers laundering up to 40 billion dollars worth of Gold every month across the African Continent.