The Ghana Police Service have arrested a small-scale miner, Robert Boazor Tampoare, in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region’s capital, in connection with a fraudulent bank account.
His arrest comes after members of the Unique Mining Group, a small-scale mining firm based in the Talensi District, lodged a complaint against him at the Divisional Police Command in Bolgatanga. He was arrested on Tuesday May 30, 2023, and bailed the same day.
Tampoare, according to the complainants, opened the account in the group’s name without their prior notice.
He reportedly initiated the account this year at a branch of Zenith Bank in Bolgatanga and brought on board one Oscar Ziug, who is not a member of the Unique Mining Group, as a signatory to the account.
Tampoare is a member of the group but his membership is currently under an indefinite suspension for another alleged case of fraud. In 2021, he received from the Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, some 150,000 United States dollars meant for the Unique Mining Group without the group’s knowledge.
The money was offered to the group by the Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited, a Chinese state-backed firm previously known as Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, through the regional minister for trespassing on the group’s concession in the Talensi District in 2011.
Tampoare, after receiving the money from the regional minister, did not deliver it to the other members of the group. He also did not tell them about it until they found out themselves eight months later.
Hurt, the group’s leadership handed him a suspension letter in 2022 and reported him to the police and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) the same year.
The compliant prompted his arrest and detention. The Upper East Regional Police Command also took a statement from the regional minister on the matter.
Both Tampoare and the regional minister are being investigated by the police and the EOCO for fraud and abetment respectively.
The pair are also being investigated by Ghana’s foremost state anti-corruption organ— the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)— for the same reason.
The CHRAJ’s action was triggered by a comprehensive petition lodged early in 2023 by the Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC), an anti-corruption civil society organisation based in northern Ghana, against the regional minister and Tampoare.
The DRAC petition also features the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi, to have reportedly demanded a set of furniture from some small-scale miners on behalf of the government as their corporate social responsibility to the state.
The regional minister admitted in a Media Without Borders interview that he gave the 150,000 United States dollars to Tampoare.
He claimed he did so after the other members of the Unique Mining Group introduced Tampoare to him as their leader. But the other members of the group described the regional minister’s claim as false.
“We never introduced Robert Tampoare to the regional minister as our leader,” said the group’s chairman, Abdulai Amaligo. “The regional minister should prove it to us and to the public that we introduced Tampoare to him as our leader.”
Tampoare, who is also facing public criticisms of late for reportedly backing decisions that favour Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited and its local allies, declined to speak to the issue when Media Without Borders contacted him.
He also did not respond to requests from Media Without Borders for his comment on his latest arrest before press time.
Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org