The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has stated that his son is not involved in mining contrary to public speculations that he was engaged in the mining business.
When asked if his son was involved in galamsey [illegal mining] during a media interview after the delivery of President Akufo-Addo's State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Thursday, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said, “he [son] is not.”
When pressed further on what his son was involved in, in respect of mining, Prof Frimpong-Boateng retorted, “he is not involved in anything [mining], the world will get to know very soon.”
Since the revelation that some excavators seized by Operation Vanguard from illegal miners and some small scale mining companies which flouted the ban on small scale mining were missing, there has been public speculation that leading members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) who were involved in mining had the missing excavators and they were using them secretly during the period of the ban.
There have been some allegations especially from members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the ban on small scale mining was a "smokescreen" to kick out other miners and allow persons aligned to the NPP space to mine clandestinely whilst the ban was still in force.
In some circles, the name of the son of Prof Frimpong-Boateng has cropped up and is being discussed as someone who is involved in small scale mining clandestinely for his father, even though, the father [Prof Frimpong-Boateng] was the chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Mining and was to superintend the ban on small scale and illegal mining for the sector to be streamlined for responsible mining to save the environment.
The Member of Parliament for Juaboso, Mr Kwabena Mintah-Akandoh in separate radio interviews monitored by Graphic Online on Accra based Okay FM and Asempa FM, for instance, had alleged that whilst the ban was still in force, NPP bigwigs were being allowed to mine secretly whilst others were being harassed and their equipment including some of the missing excavators were being seized.
Frimpong-Boateng's response to son's alleged involvement
Prof Frimpong-Boateng who had been pulled aside for a media interview on his comments on the State of Nation Address on Thursday [February 20, 2020] when he was asked further if he will resign from his ministerial position following calls for him to do so in respect of his alleged complexity in the missing of some excavators, he queried: “for what purpose…I have told you, you are asking me about what I have done so far, and I have given you a rundown. Do you think that given the assessment, I should resign?"
He said he has achieved about 70 per cent success in the fight against illegal mining.
When he was asked where the missing excavators were, he said: “every excavator that has been stolen would be found…I was not sleeping on the job…they did not disappear overnight, you will get the facts pretty soon, I don’t want to go..., overstep what the security people are doing, the investigators, so let us be patient, you will get the facts pretty soon”.
“Please don’t harass me, you will get the facts pretty soon, we will talk about galamsey pretty soon, [for now] let us talk about the State of the Nation Address," the Minister said.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng insisted that the fight on illegal mining in Ghana has been successful such that other African countries have approached Ghana to learn from the experiences.
"So we have done very well, look at where we started from, now we have come to the point where community mining has been accepted by Ghanaians and about 25,000 people are doing their work there."
"The mining with impunity, people hide to do that, people who were dying in the pits, the deaths have reduced by about 90 per cent and it is very commendable and also if you look at the fact that it is no longer attractive to be here, that is why a lot of Ghanaians are doing their trade in other West African countries, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, a lot of Ghanaians and foreigners and the Chinese are even there, doing the galamsey. We've done a very good job," Prof Frimpong-Boateng said.
When he was asked to respond to allegations that he and his son were directly involved in mining, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said, "it is not true. I mean look at me, I have been around for a very long time, I came to Ghana from Germany at the age of 39 to set up the National Cardiothoracic Centre. The building there was constructed without a cedi contribution from the government, and I have trained people. I reformed the Ghana Red Cross Society, founded the Ghana Heart Foundation, everything that I have done in this world is for Ghanaians, I have not done anything for myself, look at me, I have not taken bribe before, I have not extorted money from anybody before, I have not done anything wrong before and it saddens my heart that people can associate me with illegality, this is wrong."
Prof Frimpong-Boateng insisted his son was not involved in anything illegal and was not involved in mining and the world will get to know pretty soon.