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01.08.2005 General News

MP named in GCD ‘looting’ spree


- Allegedly grabs 4 mining pits - Managing Director grows furious The Chronicle's in-depth investigations have uncovered how a member of the country's honourable parliament is feeding on the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Limited (GCD)'s concession.

After series of investigations and follow-ups to the operations and activities of the distressed company, the paper has uncovered fresh reports which indicate that the Member of Parliament for Akwatia, Mr. Kinston Akomeng Kissi, where the company's concession is situated has taken over a parcel of the company's concession without the permission of the authorities and engaged the services of some young men to illegally mine the company's diamonds on his behalf.

This came to light after series of complaints from both the public and the company's security men to management that individuals and groups other than those of the company's staff had invaded the concession and were having a field day.Worse, they paid no fee whatsoever to the company's management for the use or occupation of the concession.

Some residents and security details had earlier informed, and within intervals, notified the management about the operations of such illegal miners. Most of these illegal mining activities were said to be going on around the Akim Wenchi old town reserves, stretching down to the Birim river banks on GCD's concession without the consent and due approval of management.

Following the series of complaints received, the management, under the directorship of Dr Maxwell Kusi Mensah, tasked the company's security department to be vigilant about the activities and operations of these illegal miners in and around the company's concession.

In its report on the situation, the acting Deputy Chief Security Officer (Production) B. Ambassaki noted that “As a follow up on the reports of illegal mining activities at Akim Wenchi old town and the Birim river banks on GCD's concession, 15 security men under the command of two officers carried out an exercise on the 27th June 2005 at Wenchi.”

Further, he noted that though no arrest was made, “ it was found that four new pits had been dug out and that illegal diamond miners were fully in control of the area, with the Akwatia MP supervising,” an indication that the MP and his men were fully in control and briskly mining what they could for themselves.

The report stated further that two of Kissi's vehicles, a white-coloured Nissan Pathfinder with registration number GR 5371 R and a Mitsubishi Lancer also white-coloured with registration number GW 2219 S were seen parked near one of the new dug pits where he and his men were. This prompted the security department to write a report on the said operation to the Managing Director for action.

Considering the pace of work, the report indicated that, “the rate at which illegal diamond miners are working is so fast that, it is feared most of the shallow and viable GCD concessions at Wenchi would be completely taken over by the IDMs if their nefarious activities are not seriously and timely checked.”

Under this circumstance, the Managing Director of GCD, Dr Maxwell Kusi Mensah was compelled on 29TH June 2005 to react to the complaints by forwarding the report to the company's Board Chairman, Joseph Godson Amamoo.

Obviously startled by the way things were going on at the mine, the soft-spoken MD wrote on the report, “Chairman, as informed you, please see what our MP is doing against GCD.”

When contacted for his side, the MP, Kingston Kissi denied his involvement in any such act of illegality.

According to him, he had neither engaged the services of any group of people to mine on his behalf nor been to any part of the company's concession with the intent of mining.

Asked whether he knew of the vehicles in question, he admitted that the Nissan Pathfinder with registration number GR 5371 R was his property but sold it.

He however denied ownership of the Mitsubishi Lancer with registration number GW 2219 S, stressing that he had never owned a Mitsubishi lancer.

According to him, since he hailed from Wenchi, where he was cited in the report to have dug four pits and supervised illegal mining activities, nothing should prevent him from visiting there. To wit, he was visiting his hometown, not GCD's concession.

He denied also that at no point in time, especially on the said day and date in question did any security detachment from GCD see him and his alleged accomplices at the site, asking rhetorically, “if I don't have any Tributer there, what would I go and do at the site?”

When contacted, the MD declined any comment, saying: “I don't discuss issues on phone for obvious reasons.”

Although the paper has carried series of stories on how some officials of the company and unnamed government officials are feeding on the company, nothing concrete has been done about it, whereas all that needs be done is for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to invite this reporter for questioning.