The summary of the Galamsey Fraud video by Anas Aremeyaw Anas which was premiered last month can be put as (A) A receptionist revealing secret operations of Operation Vanguard to a small scale miner for Gh100 (B). A military officer with the IMCIM divulging information he is not supposed to give a potential miner for Gh50, (C). Some police officers agreeing to offer protection to a small scale mining concession at a fee, and (D). Charles Bissue and his alleged ‘confidant’ Andy, circumventing provisions in the IMCIM roadmap to aid an illegal miner at a fee!
Let me start with Charles Bissue, since he appears to me as the “Kwasi Nyantakyi” of the Galamsey Fraud expose.
After the premiering, Anas spelt out the crimes of Mr Bissue in a Facebook post. The post says in parts [the alleged crimes of the secretary] that“…my outfit, ORR Resource Enterprise, presented itself as a small scale mining company, whose license to mine had expired. In spite of this expiration, we still wanted to mine…” This part suggests that some criminality was perpetrated by Mr Bissue on how he agreed to accept/work with an expired license. But that is very misleading! An expired license was accepted by the IMCIM after the ban on small scale mining was lifted!
First of all, almost all small scale ‘mining licenses’ had expired by December 17, 2018, because of the 1 year 9 months ban. The Digging Permit which allows miners to work on their legally acquired concession, which is subject to yearly renewal had expired. This is a fact! We all know the ban on small scale mining by President Akuffo Addo was imposed on March 24, 2017, rendering all Digging Permits, Stool Lands Permits including even the EPA permits expired! On the face of it, one couldn’t work with it. But there was a window of opportunity!
If we recall, during the vetting of the small scale licenses last September, small scale miners who had their mining licenses expired were given three [free] months duration [December to March 2019] to mine, make some returns so they could satisfy statutory payments. This window of opportunity was granted by the IMCIM, after the Ghana Association of Small Scale Miners argued that their members had been out of business for long. So this was granted. In fact, many of the over 907 IMCIM vetted small scale miners presently working across the country are doing so with expired documents! So where lies the hue and cry over Anas/Tiger wanting to work with expired mining documents?
Again, let me add this that, as we speak, there is a letter written to the IMCIM by the Ghana Association of Small Scale Miners, requesting the committee to call some chairmen [DCEs] of the District Mining Committees to order, because they are questioning some miners over their use of expired mining documents. Let’s remember that all expired licenses ought to be renewed by the end of this month. [March 2019]
So Anas’s point of going to Mr Charles Bissue with an expired mining license and “In spite of this expiration, [he] still wanted to mine”, between December 17th 2018 and February 2019 is bogus! He ought to have done a bit digging on that!
There was also the allegation of circumvention of the vetting process against Mr Bissue by Anas in his Facebook post. This will be explained in part 2 of this article, including Andy, the great “betweener”. I will add the point Anas raise that his documents weren’t verified and the monies we saw Charles Bissue receiving! Easy!
But let’s continue. The second person I will pick on in the video is “schoolboy” and his other police officers. It is instructive to notice when the video was filmed by Anas/Tiger. This video was shot when the ban on small scale mining had been lifted. It was between December 17th 2018 and February 2019. In fact, the introductory text in the video states that the whole project was filmed in just 14 days. Good!
So now that they were contemplating doing that when the ban had been lifted, it was not wrong for security officers to agree to offer protection to a small scale mining concession! This is because the mining laws of Ghana permits security provision for a mining concession.
We even recall when the Minerals Commission published a list of mining companies [including C&G Alaska and some others] who were receiving military protection. This was at the time the then Lands and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu, was clamping down on small and other illegal miners in the Upper Wassa Forest Reserve, in the heat of the fight against the menace. Good! So Schoolboy and his colleagues agreeing to offer security protection on the face of it cannot be illegal!
However, a case can be made on whether or not schoolboy and his colleagues had the authority from the security hierarchy to offer the kind of protection Anas/Tiger was asking. That’s the angle pursuable in my view! And whether or not it was even proper to agree to give protection from the unit they found themselves; a special unit tasked to see an end to illegality in the sector. This can be pursued well!
But let us also be reminded that, Anas/Tiger had gone to tell them he had a concession, which he legally owns! So protecting a legally own concession is no crime! But did they have the clearance to offer such a service? That’s the point!
There is this thing about the peanuts we saw them receiving at the spot that caught my attention. Was that a bribe? I will not want to call it bribery, because, no security officer will receive that peanut to offer protection for a concession! I will best describe it as a tip of appreciation from Tiger. I will rather be more interested in the big cash we saw them take. But here too, I will like to tread cautiously to say that, IF the taskforce was cleared by the security administration to offer such services, what’s the issue? Offering such a service cannot be free? However, if they weren’t cleared, the laws of the land should deal with them appropriately!
The next thing that doesn’t add up to me in the video is the bribery and corruption tag given the receptionist Jimmy and the military man we saw receiving some Gh50 from the beginning. There is something really odd about these monies. The question I asked myself was that: Is it really true that the people who received Gh50, Gh100 really negotiated with Tiger that they were going to charge those peanuts for the information Tiger was seeking? Really, the peanut was the value of that information? Was that bribe? Wow!
Let’s look at this! Transparency International defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” whilst Collins English Dictionary defines bribery as “the act of offering someone money or something valuable in order to persuade them to do something for you.
What it means is that bribery will be done by the giver [Anas/Tiger]. When the receiver who is entrusted with power [Jimmy/military officer] takes it, for private gains, they are involved in corruption. So bribery is done by the giver whereas corruption is on the part of the receiver.
Let’s note also that the bait/bribe [the money or something valuable] should persuade the receiver to work in the interest of the giver.
In the Galamsey Fraud video, and specific to Jimmy [the receptionist] and the first military officer, how does Gh50 or Gh100 given them after they had ‘willingly’ given information persuaded them to act in the interest of Anas/Tiger? Is it possible for monies one wasn’t aware it was going to be given, to become something persuading so the person act in favour of someone you weren’t sure was going to give out cash; judging from how Tiger gave them the monies in the video?
Or did Tiger negotiate with them how much he was going to give them [Gh50 or Gh100] if they gave such information, but those areas are reserved in the raw footages? If that is what happened, are the Ghana Armed Forces personnel that cheap?
Well, it doesn’t make sense if it is bribery! It will make a lot of sense Anas/Tiger states that it’s a form of appreciation! Remember the same amount was what some referees allegedly received [Gh20] etc. to fix matches in number 12.
What doesn’t add up in the Galamsey Fraud video that I want to talk about finally in this part 1 is the content of the video itself!
On March 26 2017, Mr Abdul Malik Kweku Baako hinted on Peace Fm of an “explosive” undercover works by Anas Aremeyaw Anas into the inner workings of persons behind the illegal Mining (galamsey) trade in Ghana.
Mr. Baako indicated in the said interview with Kwame Sefa Kayi that the sort of extensive investigative work done by Anas is so ‘explosive’ and will blow the minds of Ghanaians after seeing the extent to which, big men in the country have been unfair to Ghana by supervising the destruction of the environment for their selfish interest.
He was later quoted by Ghanaweb as saying that “Members of the NDC and NPP are neck deep in this mess, they manipulate the system and have their way in the galamsey business, but pretend they are fighting the menace. I’ve stopped short of mentioning names because the time we’ll name and shame people is almost up and it will be very explosive”
After the said interview, it didn’t take long when snippets of a video purported to be coming from Tiger surfaced on the internet in which same Charles Bissue was seen as aiding some persons to acquire mining documents “illegally”. No one heard something about it again! In, fact, this 2019 expose did not have that video in it!
So Ghanaians crossed their fingers in anticipation of a big expose in which both members of the NDC and NPP will be named and shamed. 2017 ended but for one or two reasons, the video did not come. The whole of 2018 also passed and the said video didn’t surface. Probably the Number 12 video became so urgently needed that the illegal mining one had to wait.
Then in 2019, bam! The big announcement came! Galamsey Fraud! But something caught my attention in the teaser. It said in the opening text that “In just 14 days, we found some of the men who stab President Nana Addo in the back”
In just 14 days? I thought from March 2017 when the explosive announcement was made by Mr Baako to January 2019 is over 900 days! So why is it quoting the 14days? Was that ‘explosive’ work abandoned? Did the big fishes pay to have it never released? Is it in part two of the Galamsey Fraud? What’s going on? If it is in part two, then I guess Ghanaians are going to see an undercover work which uncovers illegal mining activities involving actors from both NPP and NDC between 2016 and 2019! It should be that explosive too! Keeping fingers crossed because, this is Anas, the internationally recognized undercover journalist of our time!