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Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Innovations (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, has requested the Police Service to probe three men allegedly engaged in money laundering activities.
The persons are a journalist working with Accra-based Peace FM, Seth Mantey; former Central Region Coordinator of the National Security, John Ofori-Atta and suspended Central Regional vice-chair of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ekow Ewusi who is already in police custody.
Prof Frimpong Boateng’s request for probe stems from the alleged roles the three men played in the sale of excavators belonging to illegal miners which were confiscated by the Operation Vanguard team.
The Minister, in a formal notice to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) dated February 5, 2020, indicated that the journalist, Seth Mantey, had confessed to using his bank account as a conduit for the transfer of money earned from the illicit sale of equipment confiscated from illegal miners.
“In the course of investigations, Mr. Mantey confessed that he was contracted by Mr. John Ofori-Atta, then National Security Coordinator for the Central Region and Mr. Ekow Ewusi to use his bank account at the National Investment Bank for what effectively was money laundering,” the Minister’s letter to the CID read in part.
It added: “The proceeds from the excavator sales were lodged in Seth Mantey’s bank account.”
The letter claimed that the monies lodged in Mantey’s bank account were later cashed and given to Mr. Ofori-Atta who in turn, gave some to Mr. Ekow Ewusi.
Prof. Boateng is convinced the activities of the three persons amounted to organised crime that needed to be investigated by the appropriate authority.
The Minister on Monday, February 3, caused the arrest of the suspended regional vice chair, over his alleged role in some missing excavators and other equipment seized from illegal mining operators.
The ‘Request for Investigation’ letter written by Prof Frimpong Boateng to the Director-General of the Police CID said, Mr Ekow Ewusi was contracted to cart excavators and other vehicles and pieces of equipment seized by Operation Vanguard to designated areas for safekeeping.
The Minister’s letter said the Ministry had received information that he sent an unknown number of equipment.
A visit by the investigation team to Tema Community One, specifically to the New Washing Bay where he is alleged to have sent some 34 excavators allegedly revealed the presence of just one.
Even that excavator, the source said, is not in functional shape.
Preliminary investigations also suggest that Mr Ewusi’s alleged signature authorised the release of all the equipment and excavators from their authorised locations