The Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has expressed reservations over the decision of the Police CID to probe the corruption allegations leveled against the secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining Charles Bissue.
It comes after the CID cleared Mr. Bissue of any wrongdoing despite the video evidence submitted by Anas Aremeyaw Anas to back his claims.
“Mr. Bissue was not found to be culpable of any offense, a parallel investigation by the office of Special Prosecutor is however still ongoing,” the Graphic quoted the police report as saying.
In a statement, Mr. Amidu said the decision by the Minister of Environment to refer the matter to the police despite the fact that his office was investigating it amounts to an interference in his work.
“The point is, as far as I am concerned, the police have no jurisdiction in the matter, and no minister can refer cases which belong to me to them. The President said he was appointing me so that there won’t be political interference, so, why will a minister bypass me and refer a case to the police?
My investigators will handle it. When they are ready, they will give the dockets to us as prosecutors, we’ll assess it and we’ll make a decision. And then I’ll see who will stop me,” he wrote.
Undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in a 14-day investigation into the activities of the Committee had Bissue compromising his integrity having accepted cash to facilitate the issuance of license among others.
Other security officers were also caught on tape receiving bribes to allow illegal miners to operate contrary to their core mandate to stop galamsey.
Below is Mr Amidu’s narration:
We commenced investigations but before I could invite the suspect, I read a newspaper publication in which Charles Bissue said that the CID was investigating his case and that the complainant should go there and make their evidence. So, I wrote to the Director-General of the CID to tell her that the offences of corruption have been apportioned to the Office of the Special Prosecutor. We have been petitioned, we have indicated that we are going to begin investigations, there shouldn’t be duplicity of our efforts, so, she should stop it.
She writes to me to say she’s been instructed by the Minister of Environment, who is the Chairman of that organisation [IMCIM] and the Ministry for the Interior to investigate. So, investigations continued.
I wrote objecting very strongly and then I began the investigations. I wrote to the Chief of Staff to release Bissue. A statement was taken from him. Andy was invited. A statement was taken from him. We have by then taken a statement from the complainant, who came here with his lawyers.
There was a video which was sent. I haven’t watched it because I’m not the investigator. I don’t get involved in this. I don’t know what was written to the investigators and the docket hasn’t reached where it will come to me. They viewed it with everybody there and I’m sure whosoever came must have viewed it and the investigators are dealing with the matter.
There are some knotty points which have to be trashed out before the docket will be brought to us because the complainant has given a statement. Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas sent us a letter a few days ago that he wanted to be a witness and I told him I couldn’t guarantee the conditions under which he wanted to be a witness but he could bring a written statement.
He came for statement forms. He is to submit them. When all that is done – because the complainant and the suspects have all given evidence, the material which is the video is there, I don’t know what it says – [and] when we’ve gone through that process, we shall make a decision whether there’s a corruption offence committed or not.
So, the case is with us. I’ve told the CID that they don’t have jurisdiction. I’ve written to the Minister for the Interior, I’ve copied the Jubilee House, and said that we cannot concurrently investigate it. You either want to set up an office to investigate corruption or when it suits you, you send it to the police. So, the matter is being investigated by us. When the docket is brought up, we shall make a decision whether or not there’s a case to answer.
You can’t investigate a case when you haven’t heard both sides and this is not the first time this type of obstruction, which I’ve referred to in my write-up, is happening. People choose to interfere with my corruption investigations when they think it doesn’t suit them but we have to do a professional work – impartially. I have been brought here to do a job and that’s what I’m going to do.
And the police know that I’ve told them they can’t do it. And the Minister for the Interior knows that I’ve told him that for them to direct the police to do it is a political decision. If I’ve been set up to investigate without political direction, why will politicians send the case to the police when they know I’m supposed to handle it? We either want to set up the Office of the Special Prosecutor or we don’t.
I’ve told you I wrote to the Director-General, CID, that it wasn’t her jurisdiction. I’ve written to the Minister for the Interior. I’ve copied the Presidency. I wrote to the Chief of Staff to release Bissue, and I asked that” ‘Treat a crime as a crime, I don’t care who is involved’.
The point is, as far as I am concerned, the police have no jurisdiction in the matter, and no minister can refer cases which belong to me to them. The President said he was appointing me so that there won’t be political interference, so, why will a minister bypass me and refer a case to the police?
My investigators will handle it. When they are ready, they will give the dockets to us as prosecutors, we’ll assess it and we’ll make a decision. And then I’ll see who will stop me.