The Information Minister says he is “utterly disappointed” in the former Environment Minister for naming him as part of government officials engaged in illegal mining.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in a letter responding to a report Prof Frimpong Boateng has submitted to the presidency said the surgeon should “kindly leave me out of his personal fights.”
This comes after Prof Boateng submitted names of people in government frustrating his effort to fight what is locally called ‘galamsey’ when he was Environment Minister.
A 36-page document written by Prof. Boateng addressed to the president, the Chief of Staff, and the police.
“He is a person for whom, like many Ghanaians, I have had great respect and admiration, over the years. As painful as it is for me to expose the falsehoods he peddled about me in his report, I have no choice except to do exactly that; otherwise, some persons may consider his account true and make judgements based on his completely false and fabricated account. I must therefore respond immediately and without equivocation,” the Ofoase Ayeribi MP said.
Mr Oppon Nkrumah said Prof Boateng in his document writes about him in three instances.
“(I) Firstly, he claims an un-named person called him to inform him that I Kojo Oppong Nkrumah had held a meeting of NPP and NDC Journalists on February 8th 2020 in Dodowa to discuss a strategy to bring him (Prof Boateng) down. He suggests that this is the cause of subsequent negative media reports about him.
“(II) Secondly, he claims that on the 13th of February, 2020 I started my brief to cabinet with a report on “Frimpong Boateng and Missing Excavators”. He creates an impression that this brief to the cabinet was a deliberate and sinister act targeted at him.
“(III) Thirdly, he claims that in media appearances after the 2020 elections, I had mentioned that the effects of the fight against illegal mining contributed to the NPP’s performance. Again he creates the impression that this was a sinister attempt to blame him for the fortunes of the NPP in some mining communities.
Read his full response below:
I write in response to allegations made against me by Prof Frimpong Boateng, Former Minister for Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, and former chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining.
As a matter of personal policy, I generally do not respond to spurious allegations against my person. I have come to observe that with time, untruths crumble in the face of scrutiny. The Ghanaian public being discerning always figures out the truth after a while.
However, I deem it necessary to respond to these specific allegations because they are contained in a widely circulated document authored by the former Minister. It is important therefore to respond for the benefit of the record on this matter so that future generations benefit from a balanced account.
Secondly, he is a person for whom, like many Ghanaians, I have had great respect and admiration, over the years. As painful as it is for me to expose the falsehoods he peddled about me in his report, I have no choice except to do exactly that; otherwise, some persons may consider his account true and make judgements based on his completely false and fabricated account. I must therefore respond immediately and without equivocation.
Prof Boateng in his document writes about me in three instances.
(I) Firstly, he claims an un-named person called him to inform him that I Kojo Oppong Nkrumah had held a meeting of NPP and NDC Journalists on February 8th 2020 in Dodowa to discuss a strategy to bring him (Prof Boateng) down. He suggests that this is the cause of subsequent negative media reports about him.
(II) Secondly, he claims that on the 13th of February, 2020 I started my brief to cabinet with a report on “Frimpong Boateng and Missing Excavators”. He creates an impression that this brief to cabinet was a deliberate and sinister act targeted at him.
(III) Thirdly, he claims that in media appearances after the 2020 elections, I had mentioned that the effects of the fight against illegal mining contributed to the NPP’s performance. Again he creates the impression that this was a sinister attempt to blame him for the fortunes of the NPP in some mining communities.
These constitute the summary of his allegations against me. I must state at the onset that in the face of:
(i) questions about how he handled the fight against illegal mining (galamsey) and
(ii) Calls to substantiate his claims that Jubilee House officials are involved in Galamsey operations,
these allegations against my person, do not answer the questions being asked of him. At best, they are red herrings aimed at drawing my name in the mud.
To his allegations against me, I hereby respond as follows:
(I) On February 9 2020, I was invited to Dodowa as a guest of Honour to a PRINPAG (Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana) event, jointly organized with the Bank of Ghana on financial reporting. This event was not a secret. It was widely promoted on media platforms and my personal social media handles as well. It was a workshop to train journalists on how to understand and deepen their reportage on financial matters in Ghana. The event had nothing to do with the fight against galamsey, not even remotely.
As is customary with such events, I was received by organizers and protocol officers openly at the arrival ceremony, ushered into the event hall openly, invited to deliver my remarks openly and escorted for the group photograph afterwards openly. My exit from the event and the reportage of my remarks were also done openly. Neither the anti-galamsey fight nor Prof Boateng was matters for consideration at this BOG and PRINPAG event.
How the former Minister morphs this event into a secret strategy conclave, with his downfall as the objective is completely beyond my imagination. The participants from the Bank of Ghana and PRINPAG will be shocked and saddened to read this claim of such an otherwise highly-held man. 4 5
Indeed, the facts are that it was Prof Boateng himself who wrote to the Ghana Police Service in January 2020 reporting the loss of some excavators and calling for an investigation. It was Prof Boateng himself who in subsequent media interviews mentioned that the number of excavators missing was about 500. Again on or around February 20, 2020 it was Prof Boateng himself who at Parliament House (During interviews on the SONA) engaged in exchanges with the media about the said excavators and promised that they will be recovered.
For the record, these are the matters that occasioned the media reports about Prof Boateng and the said excavators. Further, it was Prof Boateng himself who was later to be seen in a video making comments about the anti-galamsey fight and the release of excavators. I Kojo Oppong Nkrumah was not responsible for his initial police report, his subsequent interviews, or any of the claims he made. To be clear, it was Prof Boateng’s own reports, interviews and videos that generated his media challenges around the time. I am thus disappointed that he would, in this document, seek to blame me for the media reports.
What would I, a much younger man, seek to gain from bringing down a person as well respected as Prof Boateng? I had no interests in his profession, his politics or his portfolios. I have absolutely nothing to gain from sullying his reputation.
More importantly, as a matter of principle and my upbringing, I do not conduct my personal affairs or politics by seeking to hurt people.
The values that guide my work over the decades include the fact that it is God who raises men and women. It is not our machinations that raise men and women. I am not one to dabble in such schemes and practices. 6
Even the most simple-minded of politicians, if he was minded to orchestrate sabotage against another, will not do so by calling NPP and NDC journalists to a meeting to discuss it. If indeed Prof Boateng did get such a call, he ought to have interrogated it to have known it could not have been true, feasible or prudent.
(II) As Information Minister I sometimes have the unpleasant duty of drawing cabinet’s attention to matters of Public Interest which negatively affect the image of the administration and the Country. The claim (that 500 excavators seized by Government had supposedly gone missing) is a major matter of national interest and It would therefore have been a dereliction of duty on the part of any Information Minister to have excluded it from his or her cabinet brief.
How that constitutes an attempt to bring down the Minister responsible for the schedule is incredulous. If the Ghanaian media reported that the chair of the anti-galamsey committee had filed a police report and later explained in interviews that 500 excavators seized by Government had gone missing, no Information Minister worth his or her salt will hide it from the cabinet.
To perform my duty of briefing cabinet on media reports cannot be a sinister act against another Minister. If the President needs to be briefed in the cabinet on a matter by a Minister, it is done in the open, without malice, fear or favour. It would rather have been sinister to do so surreptitiously. 7
(Iii) The reasons for the NPPs performance in the 2020 elections were researched by a high-level party committee, and well documented both in the Party’s report and by commentators and analysts. Since the conclusion of the party’s inquiry, various party leaders have publicly explained the Party’s understanding of its performance. To frame the matter as though I Kojo Oppong Nkrumah am responsible for the party’s findings and therefore am also responsible for an effort to blame Prof Boateng for the party’s fortunes is in all humility illogical.
Over the years, I had nothing but great admiration for Prof Boateng’s public spirited works and as an inspirational citizen. I feel gravely offended over the false claims he has made and the hurtful conclusions he has sought to exact about me precisely because of the great esteem in which I have held him. I trust that in the coming months and years he will reflect deeply upon his own actions and comments which have led to his challenges. He should kindly leave me out of his personal fights. I am utterly disappointed but I forgive him.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
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