Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Did Major Maxwell Mahama Die A "Foolish And Needless Death" Because He And His Men Were Sent To Protect Gold Miners Illegally Abusing A Prospecting License To Mine Gold Illegally?

A news story with the title "Corrupt police administration covering up culprits in $1.3m gold scam - US investor" drew my attention.  That is because this blog firmly believes the nation ought to protect all investors - both local and foreign.

In a gist, according to the story, a Mr. James Barbieri, described as a "director of strategy" for Green Global Resources Limited - a cheeky name for a company that for all we know might be buying 'gold' that could even have come from those allegedly  busy destroying a forest reserve in Aminase unlawfully under the guise of carrying out exploration  -  addressed a press conference yesterday in which he accused the heirachy of the  Ghana Police Service of attempting to cover up criminality by the East Legon District Police Command then led by Deputy Superintendant of Police  Mr. Emmanuel Basintale. Incredible.

Yet still, perhaps Mr. James Barbieri might  be telling the world the truth. On the other hand, for all we know, it might also be the case that he is a closet racist who is being untruthful about what actually transpired - and must think Ghanaians are all fools simply because they are black-skinned.

To be fair to the police administration, we cannot rule that possibility out either. Indeed it could be argued that  there is a hint of the deliberate laying of grounds by Barbieri  in preparation for suing the Republic of Ghana in an international tribunal to obtain compensation for 'gold' allegedly lost whiles in the custody of the East Legon Police Command that probably is fake.

According to Mr. James Barbieri: "By way of background information, I would like to state that: Green Global Resources Ltd, USA agreed to purchase 11 kilos of gold worth one million three hundred thousand Ghana cedis (Ghc1.3m) from Mr. Courage Gegepe Kobby, the CEO of General Union Investment Agencies."

It ought to be pointed out that it is alleged that Courage Gegepe Kobby is already on bail and is apparently already being investigated by the CID for yet another case of attempting to sell fake gold to defraud victims in that particular instance.

The question there is: Why would a man with such a history all of a sudden be transformed into a saint and become honest - and sell genuine gold to another bunch of clever foreigners looking for quick riches in his view?

By all means every Ghanaian fraudster duping people (locals and foreigners alike) seeking cheap gold to buy in Ghana must be prosecuted and jailed. But their victims must not then seek to blackmail Ghana to recoup their losses when their own unfathomable greed results in their losing money in such illegal transactions.

If they wanted gold to purchase, why did Green Global Resources not simply  buy its gold directly from the Precious Minerals Marketing Company, as the law clearly stipulates? James Barbieri will doubtless soon discover that Ghana is not a banana republic -  and that far from being a lawless country in which the police hierachy covers up fraud cases, the rule of law indeed does actually prevail here.

In any case, after reading between the lines of that news story and pondering over its awful implications - amongst which could be that the gold produced by illegal miners in the Aminase forest said to be abusing an exploration license could be finding its way out of Ghana by gold  buyers smuggling it to foreign lands  - I asked myself the simple question: "So Major Maxwell Adam Mahama sacrificed his life for audacious foreigners breaking Ghana's laws with impunity - a foolish death in other words?" Ebeeii, Oman Ghana - enti yewieye paa enei? Hmm, asem kesiebe ebeba debi ankasa.

The question is: Why were those foreigners dealing with a company other than the Precious Minerals Marketing Company in the first place, when it is the only entity the law specifies gold can be purchased legally from in Ghana? The law must take its course there, for sure.

Who is to know that the 'gold' said to have been sold to these lawbreakers from foreign lands seeking to tarnish a whole nation's image and reputation by adopting a rent-seeking-strategy of blackmailing the authorities in such blatant fashion, and get away with it, did not even come from galamseyers  - because the media won't probe their bogus claims yet further.

Who else have they been transacting their gold export business with all the while they have been here since their incorporation in Ghana - and how much gold have they sent out of Ghana? How much taxes have they  paid on the exported gold thus far?

Ghanaians must demand to know why foreign galamseyers are alleged to be busy mining gold unlawfully in the Aminase forest reserve apparently under the protection of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF)  - which has obviously been misled into thinking that they are legitimate  miners,  when in reality they only have a prospecting license: an obvious illegality and a clear  infraction of the Mining Act.

With respect, no one in the ministry of defence, including Hon. Dominic Nitiwul, the minister,  must think that it is a sacred cow. It is not under our Constitution. Full stop.

They are all accountable to Ghanaians in the matter of the military allegedly being used to protect some galamseyers - such as the Ukrainians and Russian arrested by Hon. John Peter Amewu's entourage recently who are now being prosecuted for galamseying.

Major Maxwell Adam Mahama is also our national hero too - he is not  just a hero only  of the gallant men and women who serve our nation in the GAF. And it hurts us all that he died such a needless death fulfilling  an official assignment to do with the murky world of galamseying.

The question there is: Who exactly in the Minerals Commission, Forestry Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Water Resources  Commission, agreed to that abomination going on in the Aminase forest reserve? Ghanaians must hold the individual officials responsible for that outrage accountable for the infraction of our laws.

The time has now come for the Ghanaian media to demand access to the area of operations of the alleged foreign galamseyers working in the Aminase forest reserve to see what exactly it is that foreign gold miners are doing there for themselves.

Secondly, the media must ask why the directors - including James Barbieri - of Green Global Resources Limited  have not yet been charged with conspiring to unlawfully purchase gold with the intention of smuggling it out of Ghana: the only reason why they did not purchase it directly from the PMMC but were apparently rather purchasing gold in local currency from a dubious and unauthorised source.

Above all, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service must quickly involve the FBI of the U.S. Justice Department, through Interpol, to investigate the company's cash paper trail from Ghana to the U.S. since its establishment in Ghana.

It would appear that Ghana might have been cheated out of vast sums in gold export taxes by this company for some considerable length of time.

And how does one know that their so-called assay equipment isn't bogus itself and that their claims to have bought real gold weighing 13 kilos or thereabouts are not pure lies designed to build a case to successfully claim compensation unfairly from Ghana?

Finally, were it to turn out  after thorough investigations - access to all the investigators  to whom the Ghanaian media ought to have - by the CID and Military Police - that Major Maxwell Adam Mahama died because he was sent to protect bold foreign lawbreakers mining gold illegally in a forest reserve under the guise of carrying out exploration, then has he not "died for nothing - a foolish death" to use local parlance - for which reason his family must sue the GAF for billions of old cedis asap? Haaba. We rest our case.

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