The Office of the Special Prosecutor has rejected a petition by Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) that requested the Office to look into the recent acts of corruption in the fight against illegal mining in the country.
In response to the petition, the office indicated that it will not be in the interest of the country for another investigation to be conducted as investigations by the Criminal Investigations Department are already underway.
ASEPA petitioned the Office for the enforcement of small scale mining laws with a focus on the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining and the anti-illegal mining task force, Operation Vanguard following the disappearance of hundreds of excavators seized from illegal miners.
The Special Prosecutor’s office, however, says the matter presented to them does not raise questionable issues in terms of corruption to warrant their attention.
“A review of your letter of complaint, however, has led this Office to the conclusion that the facts and conjects upon which underpin your complaint do not raise any issues of corruption and corruption-related offences as narrowly defined under section 79 of office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) to warrant any investigations by this Office.
ASEPA had said recent allegations of corruption in the fight against illegal mining “show that the whole fight against illegal mining was a sham and a plot to get licensed small scale miners out of business so that some elements in the government can take over small scale mining in the country.”
The group further held that the allegations “border on offences such as stealing, bribery, corruption, abuse of public office for private gain and other serious offences” which fall under the purview of the Special Prosecutor.
So far, six persons have been arrested in connection with the missing excavators and since granted bail.
The six, include the suspended First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party in the Central Region, Ekow Ewusi, who was also heard in an audio recording with the Environment, Science and Technology Minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng discussing the prospect of mining on some concessions.
The leadership of the Concerned Small Scale Miners Association has also called for a probe into the whereabouts of gold that were seized from illegal as well as other individuals who may have been engaged in other forms of corruption.
It was Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng who revealed that the state did not know the whereabouts of most of the excavators that were seized, bringing the failings of the state in the fight against illegal mining back into focus.