The Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), on Monday expressed concerns about likely implications of the operations of alleged ex-convicts’on security, peace and stability in the Talensi mining community of the Upper East Region.
NORPRA, which works to promote sustainable mining and socio-economic transformation of northern Ghana, raised the concern in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga.
It said “NORPRA is by this statement calling on the government to, as a matter of urgency, probe into the matter and save the mining community from the likely influence of these persons alleged to have been convicted by courts of competent jurisdiction on crimes of hard drugs and many others.”
The statement noted that it was common knowledge that the purpose of mining was to make significant contributions to socio-economic development of communities and the country at large.
“Regrettably, the Talensi mining community, has in the past and present witnessed some numbers of criminal activities and violent actions resulting in loss of precious lives and valuable property,” it added.
According to the statement, “some individuals and groups in the mining community have, on countless occasions, minced no words in publicly announcing their preparedness to cause mayhem through acts of militancy and war if certain demands, whether lawful or unlawful are not met.”
NORPRA said the acts were early warning signals of looming danger which certainly raised security concerns and defeated the purpose of mining. “Allowing criminals including; drug barons in the area as mining operators will undoubtedly fuel and exacerbate the volatile situation.”
The statement said NORPRA which had over the years worked with key stakeholders to contribute to the relative peace in the Talensi mining community, was probably the most worried CSO to have read from cross section of the media about a large-scale mining company operating in the area with alleged Directors and shareholders as ex-convicts.
“Highly alarmed by the media report and in the strongest determination to unravel the truth, authenticity, credibility and validity of the information on alleged criminality of some Directors and shareholders of the said company, Cassius Mining Limited”
“NORPRA conducted a thorough search on names alleged to be Directors and shareholders of Cassius Mining Limited with criminal backgrounds and found out that; the name Radwin Elhassan whose case started on 5th February, 2003 to 21st May, 2003 was convicted by the Supreme Court of New South Wales for possession of 28kgs of narcotic drugs, cocaine to be specific.”
“He made an appeal against his conviction but the learned Judge did not only dismiss the appeal but also went further to describe his previous sentence as manifestly inadequate,” the statement disclosed.
The statement said one Anthony Upul Samantha was sentenced to four and half years after pleading guilty to 19 charges of market manipulation and 16 charges of getting a benefit by deception, concerning the fraudulent use of $16 million belonging to Cogent Securities.
The third name according to NORPRA was one Anthony Joseph Karam and James Arkoudis who were found to be of unsatisfactory professional conduct and guilty of professional negligence respectively, “Jeffrey Braysich is found to have been convicted on 25 counts after a long-running investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.”
“In a cross-check, NORPRA established that as at 10th May 2016, these very names of Australian nationals were the same names that appeared in official records of the Registrar–General’s Department of Ghana as Directors of Cassius Mining Limited.
Surprisingly, our latest check dated 5th of March, 2019 showed that some of these names have been replaced as Directors and made shareholders of Cassius Mining Limited.”