Vitus Azeem

A corruption analyst, Vitus Azeem, says he is not surprised at the turn of events regarding the exoneration of the former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal Mining, Charles Bissue.

Speaking to GBC’s Radio Ghana, Mr. Azeem said it was wrong for the police to have exonerated Mr. Bissue when the issue was before the Special Prosecutor.

He said circumstances under which Mr. Bissue was cleared, are yet to be substantiated.

BACKGROUND

In a letter to the President in March this year, Mr Bissue, who is also a Presidential Staffer, decided to step aside to avail himself for investigations after he had allegedly been accused by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s Tiger Eye PI documentary on galamsey fraud.

The documentary alleged that the secretary was involved in alleged shady deals to facilitate processes for ORR Resource Enterprise.

But a letter written to Ampofo, Oppong and Associates, lawyers for Mr Bissue, by the CID on its investigations into the matter exonerated Mr Bissue from any wrongdoing.

BACKGROUND TO THE DOCUMENTARY

In a documentary produced by ace international investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ and his Tiger Eye PI  team, Mr Bissue was seen allegedly taking money to help an unlicensed company to circumvent laid down processes to be given clearance for its mining operations.

The undercover investigator allegedly captured people tasked with fighting the galamsey menace receiving various sums of money, ostensibly to facilitate mining licences.

Andy Owusu, an alleged link man to Bissue, allegedly charged Anas’s team GH¢50,000 for the team to get to Bissue.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service exonerated the former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal Mining (IMCIM), Charles Cromwell Nanabanyin Onuawonto Bissue, from allegations of corruption.

After thorough investigations, the CID, in a final report, concluded that Mr Bissue did not circumvent the laid down procedures of the IMCIM to favour ORR Resource Enterprise, the company at the centre of the incident.

The CID also concluded that the documentary which was aired was not a true reflection of what transpired between Bissue and the said Yaw Ben of ORR Resource Enterprise.

“The CID investigations primarily relied on documentary and other sources, as already indicated, but the lead investigator of the Tiger Eye Documentary, Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas, failed to avail himself to assist in investigations and also failed to provide a copy of the unedited version of the documentary,” the report said.

Mr Anas said he had already filed a petition with the Office of the Special Prosecutor, it added.

It also indicated that the key witness, Mr Yaw Ben, failed to assist in the investigations to substantiate the claims of bribery against the respective suspects.

ANAS’S STANCE

Meanwhile, Anas told the Daily Graphic in an interview in May this year that on February 27, 2019, his team submitted a petition to the Office of the Special Prosecutor and attached the unedited videos.

“For the records, the much-touted raw footage has already been submitted to the Office of the Special Prosecutor by Tiger Eye. That is where the action is,” he said, and wondered if the two bodies were conducting parallel investigations.

EXONERATION 

The report concluded that Mr Bissue was not found to be culpable of any offence. A parallel investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor is still ongoing.

The IMCIM was put in place to address illegal mining and its work led to the seizure of scores of excavators and arrest of illegal miners, including foreigners.

Sources at the Office of the President told the Daily Graphic that none of the suspects in the documentary, including Mr Bissue, had been found to have circumvented the laid down procedures of the IMCIM in favour of any enterprise.

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