A group calling itself Professional Friends of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko (FFOGOD) is urging the general public to disregard the report by former Environment Minister, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng citing the lawyer for allegedly hindering the fight against corruption.
In a press release, FFOGOD said the accusations have no merit and thus should be treated with the contempt it deserves.
“Instead of Prof Frimpong-Boateng to applaud Otchere-Darko for his swift intervention and saving the country from a potential judgment debt from Heritage Imperial Mining, he is rather accusing Gabby Otchere-Darko of supporting illegal mining, which is ridiculous,” parts of the statement signed by the spokesperson of the group, Selikem Asinu read.
“What Otchere-Darko did was to offer legal services to Heritage Imperial Mining, which had been in active mining in the Apaprama and Kobro forests in Manso in the Ashanti Region. This intervention averted a possible judgment debt to the state,” they added.
The group’s comments follow the leakage of a 36-page report by Prof Frimpong-Boateng, who was also the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining in which Mr Otchere-Darko was cited for allegedly influencing the release of some Chinese miners belonging to a mining company.
The report said Mr Otchere-Darko was well aware of the destruction his clients were engaged in and yet chose to use his privileged position to protect them and their destructive activities.
But denying the accusation, Mr Otchere-Darko stated that he had not asked the minister to engage in any illegality or condone same.
According to the NPP stalwart, he only called the renowned heart surgeon to seek information on his client – a company he said had the permits to mine in the country.
He added that Prof Frimpong-Boateng deliberately twisted his mediation to cause public disaffection for him.
However, Prof Frimpong-Boateng in a rebuttal furnished the public with images of the said destruction by the company.
The former Minister stated that he was saddened by Mr Otchere-Darko’s appreciation of the matters in relation to ‘galamsey’, explaining that “I wondered what happened to us to get to this state, where a person who is supposed to be the lawyer of a mining company exhibited such industrial scale ignorance about mining laws and regulations.
“Going over the videos and pictures depicting the monumental environmental degradation in the areas of operation of Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko’s clients, and seeing his ignorance, I am no longer surprised that Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko has such a pixelated view of the illegal mining landscape in Ghana.”
However, FFOGOD called the former minister’s claims an attack on Mr Otchere-Darko, stating that his actions “could be best described as a menopausal myopic syndrome.”
“We should not play politics with this but rather let’s allow our institutions to work and where there are lapses, we correct,” they added.
FFOGOD also posed some questions to Prof Frimpong-Boateng that they believe need urgent answers.
Below are the questions
1. Did Gabby’s clients not have all the requisite licenses and permits required to do legitimate large-scale mining in the country and were they all not issued by authorised institutions of the state?
2. Will Prof Frimpong Boateng ordinarily consider a call from a lawyer about his client’s interest to do with his ministry as interference in his ministerial duties?
3. Will he have mentioned the name of the lawyer representing his client as unethical and sad if the said lawyer was not related to the president?
4. Will he as a doctor refuse to attend to even a convicted and condemned murderer in need of heart surgery?
5. Did he himself not own and operate small-scale mining concessions?
6. Did he consider what he did as a small-scale miner as illegal?
7. Gabby OtchereDarko said on Citi FM that his client Imperial Heritage had all licences including EPA permit. Was that not issued by an agency under Prof Frimpong Boateng’s ministry when he was a Minister?
8. If the permit from the EPA was okay, why then would he question a lawyer representing his client and ask him questions about the client being frustrated when he had permits to operate?
9. Are Ghanaians expected to take seriously an aggrieved former Minister who makes such a blatant lie of a childish claim that the President’s house in Kibi, which is in the middle of a heavily populated area of the town was invaded by galamsey and that the President’s home garden had even been affected by galamsey?
10. Prof Frimpong Boateng says he checked and confirmed that the claim that the President’s home in Kibi had been affected by galamsey was true. Does he then really know the difference between truth and fabrication?
11) Why did he exonerate his son from the galamsey menace and decide to implicate innocent Ghanaians?
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