Former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Mr. Charles Bissue, says although he was discomforted by the ‘galamsey’ fraud exposé, he is still proud of the strides he made in the country’s fight against illegal small scale mining.
In 2019, Charles Bissue voluntarily resigned as the Secretary of the Committee after he was allegedly caught on tape collecting a bribe to facilitate the issuance of a mining license in Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ exposé on illegal mining.
Anas and his TigerEye PI team published the investigative video which showed state officials including the Charles Bissue, allegedly taking bribes to sidestep the laid down procedures for the procurement of mining licenses.
But speaking on the Point Blank segment on Eyewitness News, Mr. Bissue was optimistic about being vindicated.
He insisted that he will gladly take up his role at the Committee when given the opportunity.
“I wouldn’t say I regret the Anas’ expose. But yes [I feel embarassed]. It depends on where you are coming from. We were shown what I exactly did in there but if you are asking me about the job and what I did, I have not regretted doing it. If there is an opportunity, I will do the same things that I was doing as a secretary of the IMCIM a thousand times. I did not take any money to circumvent the processes. Vindication is in the womb of time. Let’s wait for the Special Prosecutor to finish investigations. I am sure when the Special Prosecutor is done, the conclusion will even make it easier for all of us to talk about,” he told Umaru Amadu Sanda on Point Blank.
In the video, Mr. Bissue was captured accepting money ostensibly to facilitate clearance for a mining company without going through due process.
Charles Bissue’s crime
He is heard 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.
Despite Mr. Bissue’s denial of any wrongdoing, Anas Aremeyaw Anas insisted that he [Bissue] abused his office.
Following the release of the video, Anas and his team formally petitioned the office of the Special Prosecutor to probe the matter and deal with persons who compromised their positions and perpetrated illegalities.
The team also made available the video documentary that showed the officials taking bribes to the Special Prosecutor’s office.
Charles Bissue’s fate to be determined after probe – Gov’t
Government has said it cannot establish the status of Charles Bissue while investigations into his conduct are ongoing.
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 a bribe to bend rules, the necessary actions will be taken,” Oppong Nkrumah said.