Presidential staffer caught taking bribe can’t claim innocence – Anas suggests

Mr. Charles Cromwell Bissue

Investigative journalists Anas Aremeyaw Anas has suggested presidential staffer Charles Cromwell Bissue cannot claim innocence in the latest exposé in which he was caught allegedly taking bribe to facilitate illegal small scale mining.

Mr Bissue was secretly captured receiving wads of cash to facilitate the speedy ‘clearance’ of Orr mining company in order that it can begin mining without due process.

He was heard in the video titled ‘Galamsey Fraud’, instructing his subordinates over the phone to “fast track” the processing of the company’s documents.

Ahead of an investigation into the matter by government, Mr Bissue who is the secretary to the inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining announced his resignation but claimed innocence in the matter.

“I would like to state, at the very outset, that I am innocent of the allegations levelled against me in the documentary, as I was not and have not been engaged in any acts of corruption, criminality or misconduct,” he said in a statement on March 1.

He explained his decision to resign is to ensure matter does not compromise the work of the IMCIM.

But Anas on Saturday suggested the presidential staffer cannot claim innocence in the exposé as he outlined how in his view, Mr Bissue engaged in corrupt practices.

“We found Mr Bissiw abusing his office, breaching his fiduciary duties, engaging in bribery and corruption. These were uncovered by way of hard facts, captured on audio/visual recording, and electronic correspondence,” he insisted in a Facebook post.

This is what we found in Galamsey Fraud Part 1

We found Mr Bissiw abusing his office, breaching his fiduciary duties, engaging in bribery and corruption. These were uncovered by way of hard facts, captured on audio/visual recording, and electronic correspondence.

Mr Andy Owusu, a link man for Mr Bissiw charged us fifty thousand cedis (GH¢ 50,000.00) to get us through to him. We negotiated for forty thousand Cedis (GH¢40,000.00) and he accepted it. Out of this amount he accepted part payment of fifteen thousand cedis (15,000.00). Mr Andy Owusu was also the one who told us how much Mr Bissiw was ready to accept to fast track the process for us. Mr Andy Owusu also linked us to “school boy” a national security operative for our safety at the illegal mining site.

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. We were prepared to go by the government’s directive to be vetted and verified by the IMCIM.

Under the Road Map for lifting of ban on artisanal and small scale mining and the way forward prepared by the IMCIM and published in August 2018, it was agreed that miners can go back to mine when the ban was lifted only after meeting the following requirements:

*Inspection of documents-mining licenses, environmental and operating permits, Tax Identification Number (TIN), and company registration details.

*Advertisement of Vetting Exercise including informing Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM).

* Field Mapping and Verification of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Concessions; includes, mapping of boundaries of companies using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and drone technology to verify the existence and accuracy and location of each concession using GhanaPostGPS digital address system.

* Identification Cards to be issued to successful y vetted small scale mining companies

*Signpost to be erected at the concessions of the successfully vetted companies.

Contrary to the verification and vetting procedure as listed in paragraph 2.4 above, Mr Bissiw circumvented some of the procedures for ORR Resources Enterprise for a fee. We did not go through any vetting procedure.

We did not go through the Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Water Resources Commission (WRC) and Forestry Commission. Mr Bissiw took care of all of that for ORR.

We have paid Mr Bissiw a total of thirty five thousand cedis (GH¢35,000.00) in cash. Our first payment of fifteen thousand cedis (GH¢15,000.00) was made on 22nd January, 2019, through Mr Andy Owusu IMCIM near Jubilee House. We made a second payment of ten thousand cedis (GH¢10,000.00) on 30th of January, 2019 at the same place. The last payment was on 8th of February 2019. We paid Mr Bissiw ten thousand cedis (GH¢ 10,000.00).

Officials of IMCIM did not verify our concession document and did not make any demand for a power of attorney in the absence of the bona fide owner of the concession. We are of the considered opinion that the neglect and or failure to make a determination as to whether we were representatives of the owner was as a result of the money we paid to Mr. Bissiw.