The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has exonerated the former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal Mining (IMCIM), Mr Charles Cromwell Nanabanyin Onuawonto Bissue, from allegations of corruption.
After thorough investigations, the CID, in a final report, concluded that Mr Bissue did not circumvent the laid down procedures of the IMCIM to favour ORR Resource Enterprise, the company at the centre of the incident.
In a letter to the President in March this year, Mr Bissue, who is also a Presidential Staffer, decided to step aside to avail himself for investigations after he had allegedly been accused by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s Tiger Eye PI documentary on galamsey fraud.
The documentary alleged that the secretary was involved in alleged shady deals to facilitate processes for ORR Resource Enterprise.
But a letter written to Ampofo, Oppong and Associates, lawyers for Mr Bissue, by the CID on its investigations into the matter exonerated Mr Bissue from any wrongdoing.
In a documentary produced by the ace international investigative journalist, Mr Bissue was seen allegedly taking money to help an unlicensed company to circumvent laid down processes to be given clearance for its mining operations.
The undercover investigator allegedly captured people tasked with fighting the galamsey menace receiving various sums of money, ostensibly to facilitate mining licences.
Andy Owusu, an alleged link man to Bissue, allegedly charged Anas’s team GH¢50,000 for the team to get to Bissue.
The CID also concluded that the documentary which was aired was not a true reflection of what transpired between Bissue and the said Yaw Ben of ORR Resource Enterprise.
“The CID investigations primarily relied on documentary and other sources, as already indicated, but the lead investigator of the Tiger Eye Documentary, Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas, failed to avail himself to assist in investigations and also failed to provide a copy of the unedited version of the documentary,” the report said.
Mr Anas said he had already filed a petition with the Office of the Special Prosecutor, it added.
It also indicated that the key witness, Mr Yaw Ben, failed to assist in the investigations to substantiate the claims of bribery against the respective suspects.
Meanwhile, Anas told the Daily Graphic in an interview in May this year that on February 27, 2019, his team submitted a petition to the Office of the Special Prosecutor and attached the unedited videos.
“For the records, the much-touted raw footage has already been submitted to the Office of the Special Prosecutor by Tiger Eye. That is where the action is,” he said, and wondered if the two bodies were conducting parallel investigations.
The report concluded that Mr Bissue was not found to be culpable of any offence. A parallel investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor is still ongoing.
The IMCIM was put in place to address illegal mining and its work led to the seizure of scores of excavators and arrest of illegal miners, including foreigners.
Sources at the Office of the President told the Daily Graphic that none of the suspects in the documentary, including Mr Bissue, had been found to have circumvented the laid down procedures of the IMCIM in favour of any enterprise.
On the roles played by various people, including policemen, to facilitate the work of ORR Resource to operate as an illegal small-scale miner, the report said none of the suspects was found culpable of any offence.
It said suspects G/Cpl Nicholas Darkwaa, aka School Boy; G/Cpl Baffour Awuah and Cpl Sampson Bimpong were from the Very Important Persons Protection Unit (VIPPU) of the Ghana Police attached to the IMCIM and that they had no authority to deploy any member of the service to provide security for any mining company.
It said they were also not privy to the movement of the force to enable them to give tip-offs to ORR Resource Enterprise.
Inspectors Kennedy Frimpong and Matthew Annor, the report said, were stationed at the VIPPU and not connected to the IMCIM, as the documentary portrayed, and, therefore, could not influence any decision of the committee.
“Suspect Obed Osei Boakye is a small-scale miner who is not connected to the IMCIM, contrary to what the documentary portrays. He has no way of influencing any decision of the IMCIM,” it said.
Investigations had further revealed that no mining activities had taken place at the site of the ORR Resource Enterprise, located at Dawusaso in the Amansie South District in the Ashanti Region, as portrayed by the documentary, the report said.
“At the conclusion of investigations, based on the available evidence, none of the suspects was found to be culpable for any offence,” it said.