A former Presidential staffer, Charles Bissue, has gone to the High Court to stop the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) from investigating him over suspected corruption and corruption-related offences involving a public officer.
According to Mr. Bissue, an investigation cannot be launched when a copy of the petition forming the basis of the investigation has not been given to him.
In a writ sighted by JoyNews, Mr. Bissue argued that, the OSP in it half-year report dated December 31, 2022 had stated that “the Office has concluded investigation into the allegation of the use of public office for profit against Charles Bissue during his tenure as secretary to the erstwhile Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) arising from an investigative documentary titled Galamsey Fraud Part 1 published by Tiger Eye P.I and the journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.”
But in view of this and notwithstanding a suit against the OSP, the Office in a new letter dated May 3, 2023 has informed him of ongoing investigations into the activities of the IMCIM.
According to the letter, he is still considered a person of interest, hence the need for him to avail himself for an interview.
This is the second time Mr. Bissue is suing the Special Prosecutor since the release of the documentary by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Earlier, he had argued that the police have already investigated and exonerated him of any wrongdoing.
He is therefore seeking a declaration from the court that upon a true interpretation of the OSP Act, 2017 (Act 959), the OSP does not have the power to review an investigation done by the police.
Again, he is seeking a declaration that the powers granted the OSP under Act 959 does not allow the anti-graft body to investigate and prosecute him when the subject matter had already been investigated by the police.
Mr Bissue also wants the court to declare that the OSP cannot investigate him without investigating Anas and Tiger Eye P.I.
Finally, he is seeking an order perpetually restraining the OSP from investigating him over the same issue investigated by the police, unless the police refers the matter to the OSP.
The OSP, in December last year, announced that it was investigating indigenous mining firm, Akonta Mining Limited, Mr Bissue, some officials of the Lands Commission, Forestry Commission, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, some mining entities, individuals and political party officials over suspected corruption relating to illegal mining.
A statement signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, and issued in Accra on December 10 last year, said Mr Bissue was already being investigated on allegations that he used his office for private gain.
“The investigation includes the active and ongoing enquiry into allegations of use of public office for profit against Charles Bissue during his tenure as Secretary to the IMCIM, arising from an investigative documentary titled ‘Galamsey Fraud Part I’ published by Tiger Eye P.I.,” the statement said.
But Mr. Bissue has refuted all allegations made in the documentary against him.
“As I have said countless times that money was not a bribe and I did not make any demands whatsoever from any operative or beneficiary of illegal mining while I served on the IMCIM,” he said in a recent statement.
Subsequently, in July 2019, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service exonerated Mr Bissue from any wrongdoing or allegation of corruption.
The CID concluded that the documentary which was aired was not a true reflection of what transpired between Mr. Bissue and one Yaw Ben of ORR Resource Enterprise.
“The CID investigations primarily relied on the documentary and other sources, as already indicated, but the lead investigator of the Tiger Eye documentary, Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas, failed to avail himself to assist in investigations and also failed to provide a copy of the unedited version of the documentary,” the CID report said.