UE/R: Miners get new leaders after suspension of chairman on fraud charges

The interim officials in the Upper East region and GNASSM officials from outside the region.

The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) has named a five-member interim executive body for its Upper East regional chapter, pending elections of substantive district and zonal officials under the branch.

The inauguration comes eight months after the branch’s chairman, Robert Boazor Tampoare, was handed a suspension letter over some fraud-related allegations.

The interim officials include: Yaw Mort, as Chairman; Kwame Abasiyuure, Vice Chairman; Zumah Baba Yaro, Secretary; Buyak Zongdan Kolog, Treasurer; Abdulai Amaligo, Organiser; and Yin Ziyaaba, as Financial Secretary.

From left: Abdulai Amaligo, Organiser; Zumah Baba Yaro, Secretary; Alhaji Ahmed Baba, National Organiser; Buyak Zongdan Kolog, Treasurer; Eric Addai, Konongo Branch Chairman; Kwame Abasiyuure, Vice Chairman; Yaw Mort, Chairman; and Yin Ziyaaba, Financial Secretary.

Several small-scale miners based in the region witnessed the inaugural ceremony that also saw the association’s national organiser, Alhaji Ahmed Baba, advise the interim officials to work together with the zonal executives.

Alhaji Baba hitherto had acted as chairman for the branch following Tampoare’s suspension in September, 2023.

While entreating the leaders and members of the association in the region to ensure that unity of purpose and determination prevailed over conflict and discord, the national organiser also stated that two additional members (including a woman) would be co-opted into the interim executive body in due course.

He further warned members of the interim executive body to be honest in their dealings with the zonal officers.

Alhaji Baba was accompanied by Eric Addai, the chairman of the Konongo Branch in the Ashanti region, who recounted how members of the association in the region lodged petitions with the association’s national executive body against Tampoare and a board, named Sampson Wiredu Committee, was set up to investigate the allegations raised and present its findings.

He said after the committee presented its report in 2023, the national executive asked all district executives in the Upper East region (which the association in its own terms refers to as Bolgatanga District) to step aside for interim executives to be named.

How Tampoare was suspended as secretary and removed as chairman

In 2021, Earl International Group (Ghana) Gold Limited, a Chinese firm previously called Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, gave $150,000 (equivalent to Gh¢2,210,868 in June, 2024) to the immediate-past Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, for onward delivery to the Unique Mining Group, a small-scale mining firm to which Tampoare was a secretary.

The Chinese company offered the money after trespassing into the Unique Mining Group’s concession in Talensi, a district in the region.

The regional minister paid the money to Tampoare by cheque, without the knowledge and consent of the other members of the Unique Mining Group.

Tampoare deposited the money into his personal account at the branch of Zenith Bank in Bolgatanga, the region’s capital. He did not tell the other members of the group about it.

About eight months later, the others heard about it. But when they approached him for the money, he did not produce it. Subsequent attempts to retrieve the money from him through the regional minister yielded no results.

Robert Boazor Tampoare.

Frustrated, they reported the matter at the Divisional Police Command in Bolgatanga. Tampoare was arrested and, while in detention, he was asked to produce the money. But he could not produce it.

After he was granted bail from police custody, pending prosecution, he was suspended from the Unique Mining Group by the other members in accordance with the group’s constitution. And while he was still coming to terms with his suspension, the police put him before the High Court ‘1’ in Bolgatanga on fraud-related charges. That case is still before the court.

The same members reported him to the police again for reportedly opening another account at the Zenith Bank in the group’s name without their notice. He was arrested on Tuesday May 30, 2023, and bailed the same day.

The Bolgatanga District Police Station.

Besides, the members reported him to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in relation to the alleged fraud. And he was cited in another petition lodged in 2023 with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) by the Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC), an anti-corruption organisation, against the regional minister and the Minerals Commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Ayisi, regarding some mess surrounding the monies offered to small-scale miners by Shaanxi.

It did not end there. Members of the Bolgatanga Mining District branch of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM), of which Tampoare was the chairman, lodged two separate petitions against him, asking the national executive body to investigate some allegations of fraud brought against him.

Gban, a mining suburb of Talensi District, where the Unique Mining Group, other small-scale mining firms and Shaanxi operate.

In response, the national executive instituted a committee headed by the association’s Vice President, Sampson Wiredu, to look into the petitions.

On Saturday, 30 September 2023, members of the GNASSM branch in Bolgatanga, announced at a news conference in the region’s capital that the Sampson Wiredu Committee had interdicted Tampoare as chairman.

Reacting after the news conference, Tampoare said he would challenge the interdiction in court.

But he is yet to go to court on that matter since then.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org/Ghana


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