Drone pilots of government’s anti-galamsey programme have appealed to President Akufo-Addo to compel state agencies to expedite investigations on Mr. Charles Bissue, Secretary to the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining.
Mr. Bissue was captured allegedly taking bribe in an investigative video by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye PI video on illegal mining in Ghana.The Drone Pilots are worried that the absence of Mr. Charles Bissue is negatively impacting their work.
According to a statement signed by Mr. Emmanuel Quagraine, a Drone Pilot, the lack of effectiveness in activities coordination has led to a setback in the general administration of their work.
A situation he attributes to the absence of Mr. Charles Bissue who was the main administrator of the secretariat.
It would be recalled that in order to scale up the initiative, the Committee deployed the use of specialised drones that could among many other functions, relay real-time photographic data to enable the team locate areas where illegal mining was happening.
Since the introduction of the specialised drones, the IMCIM had been able to undertake a comprehensive mapping of areas being mined illegally, identify lands that need to be reclaimed accordingly.
Mr. Quagraine emphasised the need for investigations to be expedited on Mr. Bissue as portrayed by the Anas Galamsey video.
The statement said “when Charles Bissue was at post, he was everywhere to make sure that our water bodies and lands were protected. However, a look now at the Rivers Ankobra and Pra would give the public the extent of setback being experienced with a recurrence of the pollution witnessed before”.
The group said “We believe that Anas Aremeyaw Anas has fooled us all with his so called expose themed “Galamsey Fraud”. We the drone pilots are also making it known that Charles Bissue’s resignation has affected our duties in various districts as to not knowing when we will start operations or when some of us will be called to duty because Bissue had been doing that as part of his functions. Now we seem lost” they lamented.
In the video documentary, Mr. Bissue was captured accepting money ostensibly to facilitate clearance for a mining company without going through due process.
He is heard in the video instructing his subordinates to fast-track the processing of the company’s documents.
Several others connected to the work of the committee, otherwise known as the Presidential Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, are seen in the video playing “facilitating” roles at negotiated fees.
Bissue is currently helping the police to investigate the case.
Despite Mr. Bissue’s denial of any wrongdoing, Anas Aremeyaw Anas insists that he [Bissue] abused his office.
Anas has further petitioned the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu to investigate the issue.
The government has also taken an interest in the case with the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, telling journalists that a thorough investigation will be conducted, and no one found culpable will be shielded.
“Government has taken notice of a documentary by Tiger Eye PI suggesting that it has uncovered acts that undermine the fight against illegal small scale mining. Government will have the said tapes properly investigated using the raw unedited footage and if any person is found to have solicited money or taken bribe to bend rules, the necessary actions will be taken,” Oppong Nkrumah said.