The Attorney General (AG) and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has pointed out that he did not institute criminal action against former minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Professor Frimpong Boateng when the Adansiman Progressive Association (APA) accused him and his son, Jojo Frimpong Boateng, of allegedly engaging in Galamsey because no concrete evidence was presented by the association.
In the same vein, the Attorney General says Professor Frimpong Boateng’s mere allegations against certain named individuals in a report that he allegedly authored cannot constitute grounds for him to prosecute any of them because no evidence of criminal wrongdoing was supplied by Professor Frimpong Boateng in the said report.
The AG makes the case that he does not go and prosecute simply because a serious allegation has been made. He needs evidence and when investigators do not provide the evidence, he needs to be able to prosecute, his office cannot go ahead to press charges against anyone.
“It is the height of injustice to prosecute people for crimes when there is no evidence. It is for this reason that the Office of Attorney-General did not prosecute either Prof Frimpong-Boateng or his son, Jojo Frimpong-Boateng in the face of allegations by the Adansiman Progressive Association that they were seriously engaged in Galamsey” Godfred Yeboah Dame wrote in a press release in response to what he said were recent attacks on him by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Involvement in mining
Letters exchanged between Symphony Limited, a company wholly owned by Professor Frimpong-Boateng and his wife and managed by their son, Jojo Frimpong-Boateng (who refers to himself as “the king of gold”), and the Minerals Commission cited by Asaase News point to the fact that prior to assuming office as Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Professor Frimpong-Boateng and his family were neck deep into “Galamsey”.
According to one of the correspondences, Symphony Limited was granted a reconnaissance license (RL) for a consignment in Baabiaraneha on 25 August 2011. On 14 January 2014, Symphony Limited applied for conversion of the RL into a prospecting license (PL), which was granted on 23 March 2016. Before granting the PL, Symphony Limited was granted an environmental permit on 19 April 2016.
On or about 23 February 2017, the Komfourkrom community wrote to the Japekrom traditional council and copied the Minerals Commission, protesting against the illegal mining activities of Symphony Limited on lands in their community.
Symphony Limited was also granted a reconnaissance license (RL) for a consignment in Adomesu on 25 August 2011. On 14 January 2014, Symphony Limited applied for conversion of the RL into a prospecting license (PL), which was granted on 23 March 2016. Ahead of the PL grant, Symphony Limited was granted an environmental permit on 19 April 2016.
On 23 February 2017, the Komfourkrom community wrote to the Japekrom traditional council and copied the Minerals Commission, protesting against the illegal mining activities of Symphony Limited on lands in their community.
In both Baabiaraneha and Adomesu, the Minerals Commission on 2 June 2017, wrote to Symphony Limited and copied the chiefs, elders, and community leaders in the two areas asking them to accord Symphony Limited the needed support for them to carry out their activities.
Beyond these protests and the effort made by the Minerals Commission to secure the cooperation of the people of Baabiaraneha and Adomesu for the activities of Symphony Limited, the people of Adansi on 30 November 2019, held a press conference accusing Professor Frimpong-Boateng (then minister for Environment, Science, and Technology) of being involved in “Galamsey”.
The group that held the press conference, Adansi Progressive Association (APA) in Obuasi called on President Akufo-Addo to dismiss Professor Frimpong-Boateng and others, from office because he was a “thief” and had handed over a particular consignment to his son, Jojo Frimpong-Boateng who was engaged in Galamsey activity at a time when he (Professor Frimpong-Boateng, was engaged in a state-sponsored fight against “Galamsey”.
The Attorney General further explained in his press release that “the docket built by the CID on the Frimpong-Boateng report presented to the Office of the Attorney-General for review, was an inquiry into specific allegations by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng against specifically named individuals”.
“Same was not a probe into general Galamsey issues in the country as the NDC mischievously sought to portray to the nation. The conclusions by the learned Chief State Attorney are thus only in relation to those specific allegations. Prosecution for Galamsey offences, including those committed in all forest reserves and water bodies, continues throughout the country” the AG said.
“In spite of a multitude of allegations and invectives spewed on me by the Communications Officer of the NDC, not a single piece of evidence was furnished by the NDC in proof of any allegation made by Professor Frimpong-Boateng against any person named in his report.
“The entire NDC’s press conference was, in point of fact, vitiated by a fraudulent attempt at explaining their orchestrated lies and abuses against me, as they are wont to do” Dame further stated in his press release.
Ongoing Galamsey fight
Touching on the ongoing fight against Galamsey, the Attorney General said his ministry has succeeded in prosecuting several persons who were engaged in illegal mining and they have secured convictions. He added that there are several other cases that are pending at various courts across the country and the AG’s department will continue to pursue those cases to their logical conclusion.
“Between August 2021 and September 2022, thirty-three (33) persons including eleven (11) foreign nationals were convicted and sentenced under Act 995 in the Eastern Region. They are currently serving various prison terms of fifteen (15) years, twenty (20) years, and eighteen (18 years together with fines imposed.
“Other convictions were recorded in the Western Region as well with some reported in the media. 17. On 31 August 2023, the Circuit Court, Tarkwa, sentenced 25 people to various terms in prison ranging between 15 and 20 years each together with various hefty fines, following a successful prosecution by the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice” Dame stated.
“Currently, over 130 cases of illegal mining involving over 800 accused persons are being prosecuted in courts in the Western, Eastern, Ashanti, Greater-Accra, and Upper East Regions of Ghana. The cases are at various stages of their conduct with some near conclusion” the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame further stated in his press release.