Politics Tue, 21 May 2019

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Bribery Tape Saga: Pressure mounts on Council of State Member to resign

Pressure is seriously mounting on the Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, Tong Raan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, to resign as a member of the Council of State and Board Chairman of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) over his alleged complicity in a bribery-related undercover investigation by Starr FM’s investigative journalist, Edward Adeti.

A Minister of State at the Office of the President, Rockson Bukari, is heard on some investigative tapes attempting to bribe Adeti with Gh¢5,000 to kill a damning story about a high court judge in the Upper East Region, Justice Jacob Boon, whilst telling the journalist he had been asked by the Paramount Chief of Talensi (the Tongo Rana) to tell him (the journalist) to not publish the story to protect the judge.

Rockson Bukari resigned on Monday April 29, this year, as a Minister of State at the Presidency after the audio tapes went viral. Addressing the media on Monday at a press conference held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East regional capital, a popular group of natives and residents of the Talensi District calling themselves the Concerned Citizens of Talensi poured out their anger as they asked the Tongo Rana to resign his positions as a member of the Council of State and the Board Chairman of TOR or face “an absolute vote of no confidence in him” if he failed to step down.

Efforts made by Starr News on the telephone on Tuesday (today) to get a reaction from the Secretary to the Paramount Chief, Richard Sunday Yinbil, to some serious allegations raised in the press statement against the Paramount Chief did not yield any results before press time.

Below is a copy of the group’s five-page press statement issued at the news conference by the leaders of the group and read by its convenor, Bismarck Zumah:


Ladies and gentlemen of the media, fellow development-oriented minds, upholders of freedom and justice, we warmly welcome you to our third press conference this afternoon.

As we have times without number reiterated our appreciation to you for playing this vital role of extending to the general public our position on how the wicked Chinese conglomerate, Shaanxi, standing on the shoulders of local and national authorities, have been plundering and looting Talenteng with impunity and total disregard to human life and property.

The Concerned Citizens of Talensi since January 2019 have raised many concerns about some corrupt activities of Shaanxi including bribing of public officials and traditional authorities to neglect their national and patriotic duties to mother Ghana and bend the law illegally to allow them to steal our natural resources.

We also brought to public notice the illegal status of Shaanxi who are pretending to provide support services to two mining groups, Yenyeya and Pubortaaba, while engaging illegally in large-scale mining. Shaanxi did this to avoid taxation, social responsibilities, compensations and many other important obligations. We brought an accusation against Shaanxi for intentionally and wickedly poisoning and blast-killing other small-scale miners who were legitimately mining in their own pits. These acts are in line with Shaanxi’s grand strategy to take over the entire Gbane mining area through intimidation, target killings and bribery of public officials to de-block the small-scale mining area for large-scale mining.

Due to these numerous illegal acts of Shaanxi, we the Concerned Citizens of Talensi called for the revocation of all of Shaanxi’s licences before further deterioration is caused to the people of Talenteng and the entire nation.

This is because Talenteng has not had any benefit from Shaanxi except confusion, poverty, bribery, corruption and divisiveness capable of setting war among communities and chiefs of the catchment area.

We made many complaints through press conferences, releases, petitions and a demonstration but the public officials at the Minerals Commission, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Talensi District Assembly, the Ghana Police Service, etc., have yet to take any action against them.

The Adeti exposé, which recently cost the former Upper East Regional Minister and Minister of State in charge of Special Duties his job, has vindicated the Concerned Citizens of Talensi.

1. The exposé has given a clear evidence that we were right when we accused Shaanxi of bribery and corruption.

2. We were right when we accused Shaanxi of intentionally blasting and killing 17 young people of Talenteng.

3. We were right in accusing certain persons in authority for offering their shoulders for Shaanxi to perpetrate these heinous acts against the people of Talenteng and Ghana.

4. The exposé made it clear that Shaanxi’s illegal activities are affecting fair competition, human life and natural resources.

We challenge the authorities that much rot will be uncovered and the culprits brought to face the full rigors of the law if the state security apparatus were to take up the allegations made against the Shaanxi Mining Company, the Tongorana and the Bolgatanga High Court judge, Justice Jacob Boon, and conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation into their activities.

One of the major issues raised by the Concerned Citizens of Talensi has been the support Shaanxi has been enjoying from the Tongorana, the Talensi District Assembly all the way up to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

In the recent Adeti exposé, Justice Jacob Boon, the Bolgatanga High Court judge, Hon. Rockson Bukari, a Minister of State at the Presidency and the Tongorana, a Council of State member, representing the Upper East Region, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Board Chairman and also the Paramount Chief of Tongo were all found complicit in an attempt to once again suppress justice and sway it in favour of Shaanxi. This is a clear indication that we have been making the right calls all this while.

It has come to our notice that the Hon. Rockson Bukari in admission of culpability regarding the leaked tape has done the honourable thing by resigning from office as a Minister of State. Sad though, however, the Concerned Citizens of Talensi, the Upper East Region and the entire nation is in the debt to Mr. Edward Adeti of Starr FM for bringing to light the corrupt deeds of Shaanxi, the Tongorana, Rockson Bukari, Justice Boon and all who are involved in the plunder of Talenteng and Ghana.

The Tongorana is mentioned by the minister as one who was much interested in killing the story and that if the journalist pursued the case, it would affect Tongorana and Shaanxi. The Concerned Citizens of Talensi has never had a shred of doubt about the instrumental role played by Tongorana in support of Shaanxi in their wrongdoings. We thank the minister for revealing that the real enemy of the people of Talensi is a man in the position of the Tongorana.

We recall that, when Shaanxi, toxically blasted, killing 17 young men on 23rd January, 2019, as usual, the Tongorana in a press conference referred to the victims as thieves and illegal miners and categorically advocated for the closure of the pits belonging to the rest of the small-scale miners and to pave way for Shaanxi to continue their illegal large-scale mining, knowing fully the hardship such act will bring to Talenteng and Ghana.

Complaints reaching us from some of the chiefs in the Talensi Traditional Council have been a constant harassment from the Tongorana to sign counter petitions to that of the Concerned Citizens of Talensi. We were not surprised that his name was boldly mentioned as the architect in the bribe scandal which was unearthed in the Adeti exposé.

We understand the Tongorana has released a press statement trying to dissociate himself from the exposé. However, we are yet to witness how a tortoise can be a tortoise without its conspicuous and self-defining shell. Before he can dissociate himself from the Adeti exposé, we call on him, the Tongorana, to first ask Rockson Bukari to publicly retract the Tongorana’s involvement in the act of suppressing justice and aiding and abetting the plunder of Talenteng and Ghana.

We the Concerned Citizens of Talensi therefore call on him to do the honourable thing and resign from the Council of State and the board of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). We will initiate an absolute vote of no confidence in him by the electorate if he does not resign from the Council.

He also attempted to take cover under the Talensi Traditional Council. We see this as embarrassing since he involved himself in these deals without the members of the Talensi Traditional Council. He was mentioned as an individual in the act of corruption and not as an institution or head of an institution. So, we caution him to leave the Talensi Traditional Council out of his nefarious activities. We also advise him to desist from supporting Shaanxi in their illegal activities and make way for them to be ousted or else he will lose the chieftaincy title in his next exposure.

The Gologo song which portrayed him as a chief who wants to sell Talensi lands for personal gain is an indication that the people have lost faith in him as their chief.

We also advise him to avoid attempting to isolate himself from Hon. Rockson Bukari since they have been partners in these deals.

We condemn the burglary visited on Mr. Adeti and advise Rockson Bukari, Tongorana and Shaanxi to stop harassing people with integrity and assure those who are still meeting secretly with Shaanxi and plotting evil against the incorruptible and patriotic journalist, Mr. Edward Adeti, and some members of The Concerned Citizens of Talensi that they shall be served a dose of their own medicine if they do not with immediate effect STOP.

One of our leaders, Robert Tampoare, was attacked and threatened with guns and clubs. Robert was further threatened that the Tongorana has armed some hooligans in every village who can be remotely activated to harass, cause harm and intimidate patriotic people who are found actively opposing his evil deeds.

To the Tongorana and his bunch of thugs, we warn you not to bite more than you can chew. Our decision to use diplomatic means of preventing the enemies of Talenteng from causing further damage and calling for fairer treatment for Talensis is a demonstration of maturity and not weakness.

Please, Sir, we advise you to disband those hooligans and diffuse the death threats on our lives because we are watching. The entire nation is watching. IT IS IGNORANCE THAT MAKES THE ANTELOPE ATTACK THE LION.

To our most beloved journalist, we are proud of you as the voice of the voiceless. We encourage other journalists to rise in support and act like you in making Ghana good for life. We thank God so much for being with us in this struggle for justice and freedom. May God cleanse our land of extreme greed, selfishness and wickedness.

We, the Concerned Citizens of Talensi, would like to encourage the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to purge himself from Shaanxi's black paint by revoking Shaanxi's licences with immediate effect to nullify the impression created by Shaanxi's posture that they have all been bought to decide and act in their favour. We strongly advise that the Minister stops Shaanxi's operations ahead of their licence revocation. Their operation is likely to provoke a bloody conflict as against the hard work of the current and previous governments of ensuring peace in the area. Talensis would not hesitate to stop Shaanxi from operating if the ministry fails to do so.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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