Story: Kwadwo Owusu Aduomi
Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm, has strongly dismissed claims by former Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng accusing him of engaging in illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
In a bombshell report by the former Minister, Mr Quarm is accused of using his position as a member of the Minerals Commission to acquire several dozens of large-scale concessions in his district, ostensibly for community mining purposes.
The report added that the MP “ended up selling these concessions to private individuals, including party members for two hundred thousand Cedis per concession. This infuriated the party in the constituency so during the 2020 primaries to select a candidate the electorate voted against Mr. Quarm, the sitting MP, who was more resourced than other candidates. Although there were allegations that he “camped” delegates and attempted to bribe them, he lost to a lesser known individual who did not have any financial muscle.”
But speaking to the media, Mr Quarm described the claims in the report as lies and an attempt to tarnish his image. He called on Professor Frimpong-Boateng to apologise and retract the claims in the report or will be forced to take the issue to court.
“This is most unfortunate and this is a total lie. I do not own a concession and while I don’t own a concession, how can I sell a concession? To me, once he has not accepted that the report is from him, I can’t say much but if the report is from him, then for a mining concession, there must be documents covering it bearing my name. I will advise that your station should request from him all documents bearing my name”.
“I don’t even own a pin of a concession, let alone several… I don’t have any concessions. If he confirms that it is from him, I will let my lawyers write to him to demand retraction and apology, and I will advise myself,” Mr Quarm said.
The signed 37-page report also accused some NPP bigwigs who hired the services of Chinese nationals to engage in galamsey on their behalf.
“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.