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    Galamsey: I never interfered with IMCIM's move to stop Heritage Imperial - Otchere-Darko

    The former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, "twisted" the facts surrounding "my inquiry", as a lawyer, on behalf a client, Heritage Imperial Limited, into why the company had its mining exploration equipment seized by anti-illegal mining task force GalamSTOP despite carrying out legitimate operations, the Lead Partner at Africa Legal Associates, Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has said.

    Responding to Prof Frimpong Boateng's allegations contained in a report to the chief od staff dated 19 March 2021 that has leaked into the public domain, Mr. Otchere-Darko, who is a cousin to President Nana Akufo-Addo, told Citi FM’s Vivian Kai Lokko in an interview that he was only doing his job as a lwayer for his client.

    “Heritage had a mining exploration permit issued in July 2019, a forest entry permit issued in November 2018, and also an EPA permit; yet, the soldiers went and seized the equipment of Heritage and, so, I called the soldiers and was told that it was the minister who had sanctioned them and, so, I asked the minister what the issue was with the equipment seizures and the minister said they were prospecting and not exploring and that was the conversation that we had", he recalled.

    “My intervention was to understand why a legitimate company with all the requisite permits was stopped from doing their work and that is what lawyers do", Mr Otchere-Darko insisted.

    In his report, Prof Frimpong Boateng had said: "We were ready to dislodge Imperial Heritage from Kobro Forest when Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko called to inform me that he was the lawyer for Heritage Imperial Limited, a company that was destroying the Kobro and Apaprama Forest Reserves and in the process had also polluted and diverted the course of the River Offin, as can be seen in the satellite images below. I informed the President about the behaviour of Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and he promised to deal with it".

    The president’s cousin, however, said: “The minister deliberately twisted the inquiry by a lawyer of a client’s issue to be an interference and; the thing is, it was even a phone call that lasted not more than four minutes and he ended by saying Heritage shouldn’t have been issued with the licence.”

    In the 37-page report, Prof Frimpong Boateng named specific individuals who are big shots within the governing New Patriotic Party as well as appointees of the president at the Jubilee House, who are neck-deep in galamsey.

    “Throughout our struggle with illegalities in the small-scale mining sector, what baffled me was the total disregard of the president’s commitment to protect the environment. I can state without any equivocation that many party officials from the National to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers or relatives engaged in illegal mining".

    “Most of them engaged Chinese working for them. I am not referring to party people who had their legitimate concession and were mining sustainably as they were instructed to do. There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace,” Prof. Frimpong Boateng alleged in his report.

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