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Opinions of Monday, 10 February 2020

Columnist: Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese

Unfolding Manasseh’s folder 3: Airbus vrs shared excavators

Dear Manasseh,

Your stubborn brother from Laribanga is here again with the 3rd on the series of unfolding your folded folders. As I promised, I shall always abide by the rules you did set and applied in the past anytime I try to unfold any of your folders. Today’s episode will apply the rule of ultimate responsibility which shall take precedence over collective responsibility as applied to the Mahama’s administration by your likes.

The simple logic here is that leaders (Presidents) must take responsibility for the actions and inactions of people they delegate to act on their behalf. This was applied to President Mahama in all the allegations of corruption under him and those that didn’t happen directly under him but were inherited. So, I would like us to apply the same to this regime under HE Nana Addo, and that will play to your balancing act you want to adopt just to play safe and equally look neutral.

So, after you decided to fold your folder and resort to sharing media reports on your social media handles, I’ve taken the pain to follow you, especially on Twitter. It seems your appetite for the Airbus story has risen so fast to catch up with the agenda so set by the government as asserted to by one Krobea Asante in the office of the Vice President. We are told that this whole Airbus story was well cooked and staged in the circles of government with some media cabals doing the extrapolations and issue-centering in order to once more tag John Mahama’s poor name to the said scandal.

Interestingly, you have decided to engage in yet another series of conjecturing, connecting some faint dots and tracing same to the person of John Mahama. Coincidentally, this story has come at the time there is a burning issue of the failed galamsey fight with several layers of bribery, corruption, thievery, betrayal, collusion, negligence and abuse of power.

As a human rights activist and advocate of the rule of the law, I thought you were going to surprise all of us once more with at least half a folder on this matter especially that they have to do with the lives of ordinary people. To my surprise, you rather opted to engage in some four-letter extract postings like “flying excavators, flying tricycles”...4moretoFlyMore”. This is my Manasseh on a serious issue such as this amalgamated galamsey scandal. Wow!

Well, let me make it easy for you sir. I would like to get back in your own home region (Upper East). The eyes of the nation are on galamsey and it’s effect on rivers such as Ankobra, Pra etc, but a few people talk about the exploits of Shaanxi Mining Company in Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region. Mr Manansseh who loves his people so much has decided to go mute over the death of his people in Gbane, the abuse of their rights on their own land by the Shaanxi Mining Company, the destruction of farmlands and shea trees spanning 747.41 acre of land without relative compensation to farmers and the danger school children live in as a result of the sinking of a mining shaft 50 feet from a Primary School which has caused structural damage to this school. All these have not got to the table of Mr Manansseh to be folded in a folder. I am not even talking about the illegality perpetuated by Shaanxi by engaging in direct mining instead of providing mining services to local concession holders as provided for by the minerals and mining act 2006 (703) as amended in 2015.

Mr Manansseh, do you know the danger and fear your friend Edward Adeti of Star FM is living in now as a result of his boldness to expose the corrupt Rockson Bukari who’s still walking a free man and the current Board Chairman of TOR, a Council of State member and the chief of the Talensi Tradional Area, Tong Raan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang? Were you that bold like him when you were alleged to have been offered similar sweeteners in the GYEEDA case? Well, it was alleged that you took two appointments from local government for your cousins using that draft report as your power but in the end you went ahead to blackmail the officers you were dealing with.

To the issue of the Airbus vrs the amalgamated galamsey scandal; why are you quiet and only seek to publish reports from media outlets? Don’t you have a platform and folder to capture your comprehensive position on the issue of the galamsey? Assuming without admitting that Mr Mahama’s brother was the agent the Airbus hired, are you telling us that that issue should take lead over the stolen excavators and the milky rivers? Assuming we were to put the two at each end of the scale, which of the two affects the lives of the people directly?

I hope you are aware that this isn’t the first time a President has set up an inter-ministerial commitee to fight galamsey. HE John Mahama set up same committee under the supervision of Hon Inusah Fuseini in the first quarter of 2013. This was when the influx of the Chinese illegal miners became a big problem in Ghana.

Interestingly, a week after this task force was announced by President Mahama, a 9 member delegation from China’s Guangxi Province arrived in Ghana and requested that their citizens should be excluded from the terms and conditions as set out by the President to the committee. This request was turned down by the Minister, Hon Inusah Fuseini (check story on Modern Ghana 20/05/13). Subsequent to this failed attempt, a press conference was addressed in June 18, 2013 by the Chinese Ambassador along with some officials from their Ministry of Foreign Affairs to accept the right of the Ghana government to apply the law and extend same to the Chinese...see story on (daily graphic, 18/06/13).

By 20th June, 2013, a total of 269 illegal miners (218 Chinese and 51 from Niger) were arrested and deported to their respective countries. By July same year, 4, 592 of illegal miners were arrested and deported. These included the majority Chinese, some Russians, Togolese, and Nigerians. By end of year 2013, 40 vehicles, 85 earthmoving machines including EXCAVATORS and 49 weapons were seized from these illegal miners. In order to put government officials on their toes, the MCE for Upper Denkyira East Municipal was arrested on suspicion of bribery and extortion of Chinese miners in return for their release. He was subsequently relieved of his position ( see story on myjoyonline).

The success of this operation manifested in the Chinese protesting in the Shangli County where most of these illegal miners are coming from. But all these didn’t move the Mahama administration, although some few allegations of bribery were floated in the media, it didn’t stop the task force from achieving its objectives.

So, I was expecting Mr Manansseh who has been in this business for long to have been doing some comparative analysis of the galamsey fight undertaken by his brother HE John Mahama in 2013/14 and what his friend, HE Akuffo Addo has been doing over the three years. Once you have failed to do this and has instead opted to do some extrapolations, additions, and subtractions and drawing imaginary lines to commit John Mahama in the Airbus scandal while writing some 4 to 12 letter extracts in the case of this amalgamated galamsey scandal, I have decided to open this folder on your behalf.

I wish to open up these dimensions as related to the organized thievery in the case of the amalgamated galamsey scandal led by President Nana Addo and some of his lead appointees. In the beginning, Nana Addo met with some small-scale miners and “galamseyers” in the run up to the 2016 elections. In this meeting, candidate Nana Addo was heard making promises to these miners that his government was not going to chase them out of business but to come and regularize their businesses and make it more profitable and free from environmental degradation. This though was in counter to the exercise undertaken by the Inter-ministerial task force President Mahama had commissioned.

Fast forward into government, Nana Addo in his attempt to patronize all of us and to as usual play his Machiavellian tactics, set up an Inter-ministerial with the embattled Charles Bissue as the Secretary. In commissioning this committee, President Nana Addo swore an unconventional oath to by putting his presidency on the line if he didn’t win the fight.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on the blindside, the government of Nana Addo committed our taxes to steal more from the people, and this grand scheme to mechanize galamsey by chasing out the ordinary Ghanaian out of the forest and to aid the NPP top echelons to do galamsey instead was cooked at the instance of President Nana Addo and at the NPP headquarters.

Check this out; Hon Peter Amewu, Former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the current Minister for Energy, used $3m of our taxes to purchase 200 drones to clamp down illegal miners unapproved logging as he claimed. These drones are non-visible when they are up in the air according to Amewu. In justifying the spending of this much on these drones, Mr Amewu said “the drones are sound-free and they can zoom down to about five meters even at a height of about 3, 000 kilometres. It can go to as far as about 27, 000 feet above sea level”.

In order to get the President to monitor these activities once he has put his presidency on the line, the monitoring device of the drones was put in the office of the President to boost trust and ensure transparency. So who was monitoring who and who was controlling the movement of the drones? Which forest was being monitored and who was found destroying the water bodies this much? So the drones didn’t see who was loading the excavators to sell in Burkina Faso?

With all these, read the following scenarios and connect the dots maybe we can get to the President:

1. Charles Bissue who is a Presidential Staffer and the Secretary to the committee was caught on tape while taking bribe to aide illegal miners (top NPP party officials) to do their activities. He was cleared as usual by President Nana Addo while the OSP was still investigating him. He’s still at Post and walking as a free man while Anas is still hiding in his mask.

2. Sir John was quoted to have said that the galamsey in its current form is an organized one by top officials of government who he called “big fishes”, and so his outfit can’t fight those big fishes. Meanwhile, same man was also accused by some chiefs of abetting in this crime with his charade of land reclamation.

3. A DCE who had incited a mob to murder the innocent Major Mahama was quietly promoted to a Deputy MD to the Ghana Maritime Authority where 11 air-conditioners in the bungalows of its officials is considered a moderate spending. It was alleged that the said DCE was one of the big fishes who was funding the NPP party through these galamsey activities. So is it that the government had set Major Mahama up?

4. The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon Joe Osei Owusu’s “shoot and kill” order given to the operation vanguard went to aggravate the complicit position taken by the Senior Minister in respect of the arrest and subsequent deportation of Aisha Huang (the Galamsey Queen) which was in contravention of the amended minerals and mines act 2015(703). So, the Ghanaian should be shot at but the Chinese should be protected and deported just because the government is signing a Sinohydro deal with the Chinese. Is the President aware of all these or as usual he’s been misled?

5. More than 500 Excavators seized have been officially shared amongst top constituency, regional and national executives of the NPP and top government officials including ministers of state. In fact, we are told by the coalition of media against galamsey that some of these excavators were sold in Burkina Faso.

6. A police statement from Seth Mantey of Peace FM tells us who had the power to sell the shared excavators, at what price and who the money was paid to.

7. A statement of the request for an investigation was issued by the complicit minister for the environment to the CID to cause an investigation into the missing excavators and related matters. In fact, in his letter, he also accused the persons mentioned especially Mr Seth Mantey and Ekow Ewusi of engaging in money laundering. Isn’t that double crime?

8. We were also told that some cars, other equipment including weapons which were seized from the miners were missing. Some unconfirmed reports have it that the weapons were gathered and distributed to the NPP militia groups across the country to be used during the 2020 general election.

9. The small-scale miners themselves said the gold seized from them were also missing. While at this, Hon Kennedy Agyapong of all persons has dragged the President into the Centre with his assertion that the President was deeply involved in this whole grand scheme. He said when it comes to the galamsey fight, the President himself has rotten roots. What does that mean? Can we absolve the President from this mess?

10. In a extended tape being played around on media platforms suggest that Prof Frimpong Boateng had ordered Mr Ekow Ewusi and Mr John Boadu to put together a framework of NPP illegal miners to come for unapproved concessions and seized equipment to go back to the forest and make money to finance the NPP campaign in 2020. A letter from one NPP candidate in the Central Region in support of Ekow Ewusi suggests that the latter had donated items including vehicles, Excavators, computers and other materials to all the 23 constituencies in the Central Region in support of the NPP 2020 campaigns in the region. Can the party and government appointees take a decision to make money to finance Nana Addo’s 2020 campaigns without his notice?

So, if the President had put his presidency on the line with this issue, there are only two outcomes; he resigns or he should be voted out by the Ghanaian once the exercise has failed and got the government stealing from the same people.

Mr Manansseh, I have done your work for you. In the past, you would have been moving from Joy FM to other media platforms and Occupy Ghana platforms to tell the sad SADA story and how that had deprived people of their livelihoods. The people want to hear from you now bro. They want to read your folder on this issue. They want to hear you talk about how the rivers have lost their faces since operation vanguard started its operations on the orders of your friend, President Nana Addo. Does Manansseh think that the Airbus story which doesn’t have legs should rather be given legs and traced to HE John Mahama while this organized stealing in this galamsey scandal is left to wane on the lips of himself and other rented powerful voices? The people of Ghana want to know.

Remember, the success metrics of the fight against galamsey are two; the compliance with the law and the state of our water bodies . So if these two have not been achieved, then, the fight against galamsey has failed and Nana Addo must be held responsible using the ultimate responsibility rule.

God save Ghana from hypocrisy!