The decision by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu to re-appoint Mr. Joseph Yaw Aboagye as the Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Minerals Commission has set tongues wagging at both the Ministry and the Commission.
Mr. Aboagye who held the same portfolio prior to May 2014 was seconded to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources following a series of allegations and incidents bordering on integrity and accountability relative to the issuance of mineral titles and licences among others.
Our investigative team has sighted a letter signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Prof. Bruce Banoeng-Yakubo dated March 7, 2017 which cites the Minister's directive as the basis for Mr. Aboagye's return to the Minerals Commission.
"I have been directed by the Minister, Hon. John Peter Amewu to inform you of the decision for Mr. Joseph Yaw Aboagye to return to the Minerals Commission as Director, Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation with immediate effect", emphasized Prof. Banoeng-Yakubo in his letter to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission.
Apparently, upon receipt of the Chief Director's letter conveying the Minister’s directive, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Tony Aubryn on March 13, 2017, instructed the Senior Estate Officer of the Commission to prepare Room 208 for Mr. Aboagye temporarily.
However, Mr. Aboagye's return to his former post has set tongues wagging at the Ministry, the Commission and among some members of Parliament. Questions are being asked as to the status of the incidents and allegations which informed his secondment to the Ministry in May 2014.
A parliamentary source hinted our investigative team that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Mining in the last Parliament had some serious challenges with the conduct of Mr. Aboagye; and that those challenges were not unconnected with his secondment from the Minerals Commission to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in 2014.
References were made to a series of allegations and incidents in media publications particularly in the Daily GUIDE and The Ghanaian Observer which have not yet been thoroughly investigated and/or adequately dealt with.
Mr. Aboagye, according to our sources at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has had the tendency to project his alleged NPP connections and always believed that his secondment to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was politically motivated.
"Mr. Aboagye had always claimed that his secondment to the Ministry was a case of political victimization. And so for him, his return to his former post is a case of political restoration or vindication. The veracity or otherwise of the allegations against him is immaterial in the context of 2016 Election Victory of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)", quipped an official at the Ministry who spoke to our investigative team on condition of strict confidentiality.
In another development, our preliminary checks point to Mr. Aboagye's "business interests" in two mining companies namely Xtra Gold in the Eastern Region and Shanxi Mining in the Upper East Region. Activities and operations of these two companies in and outside their areas of operations are currently on our investigative radar. And the details of our findings would be made available to the public as and when they are ready.
We are also following some critical leads on alleged dealings between Mr. Aboagye and some highly-placed officials at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission on one hand and some foreign(mainly Chinese) companies on the other.