Akufo-Addo Clears NPP Big Wigs & Appointees Involved In Galamsey

Prof Frimpong Boateng Prof Frimpong Boateng

The National Dialogue on Galamsey and Small Scale Mining held last Wednesday, has run into a ditch with many prominent individuals holding the view that it was a waste of time and scarce financial resources.

Among those who share this opinion is the Chair of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Dr Steve Manteaw, who expressed disappointment in the government for organizing yet another national consultative dialogue on illegal small scale mining locally known galamsey.

He told TV3 that "I am disappointed because of the money we have wasted on holding consultative forums such as this. We have spent a lot of money organizing public consultations in Tarkwa on a programme that was dubbed MIIP.

"We didn't see much come out of that consultative forum then it transitioned to the ASM formalization programme. Again, we haven't seen much of the ASM formalization programme and then we introduce a new consultative dialogue into the framework. It gets a bit confusing. It creates the impression that we are really not committed in dealing with the problem."

There have been several media reports of businessmen, senior military officers, media personalities and politicians some of who were captured on secret videotapes discussing who and who was involved in galamsey across the country and the reason.

In one of such videos the General Secretary of ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) John Buadu was mentioned as indulging in Galamsey.

Jojo Frimpong Boateng, son of Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, then Minister for Environment and Science and Technology, who was also Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was also unmasked as being a kingpin in the business.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service arrested the ruling NPP's Central Regional Vice Chairman, Horace Ekow Ewusi, over missing excavators seized in the clampdown on illegal mining (galamsey).

Mr Ewusi was interrogated over his role in some missing excavators and other equipment seized from illegal mining operators. The arrest followed a request made to the CID by Prof. Frimpong Boateng.

Ace Investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, also s released another explosive documentary on the mining sector and the fight against illegal mining.

The undercover piece captioned, 'Galamsey Fraud' captured Charles Bissiw, the Western regional Secretary of the NPP, accepting money in order to facilitate processes for a company to obtain a concession for operations in order to enrich himself at the expense of the country.

On the National Dialogue on Galamsey and Small Scale Mining, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, was also not left out of the debate urging the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to stop the rhetoric and hit the ground running in the galamsey fight.

In the view of the MP, President Akufo-Addo is only paying lip service to the fight against illegal small-scale mining, instead of fighting it head-on. He insisted that the president is only giving Ghanaians nice "sound bites rather than real action".

Dr Toni Aubynn, a former Chief Executive Officer at the Minerals Commission, also held the view that it will be impossible to meet President Akufo-Addo's demand of providing evidence to support claims that some persons in his government are engaged in galamsey.

According to Dr. Aubynn, nobody will have the courage to mention names of top government officials who are engaged in the illicit mining trade for fear of being victimized.

Dr Aubynn explained in an interview with Alfred Ocansey on the Sunrise show on 3FM Thursday April 15 that it is up to the President to select people to investigate claims that have been made against his appointees suspected to be neck-deep in galamsey.

President Akufo-Addo, has said he will not act on hearsay in his quest to end the galamsey practice in Ghana.

He said this while delivering a speech at the National Dialogue on Small Scale Mining Wednesday April 14.

"I am determined to enforce the laws on illegal mining no matter the subject, high or low. I will, however, not act on hearsay or mere allegations without more. I will not hesitate to act though where the evidence is hard before the police.

"And I will do so irrespective of the standing of the person or persons involved. That is the true meaning of equality before the law," he stressed.

"There are aspects of our national life which are of first subject matters of partisan politics. We must however come to the understanding that small scale mining with the requirement to do away with the illegalities in that sector should be beyond partisan politics.

"Some subjects simply cannot be part of our everyday politicking and I use this forum to insist that illegal small-scale mining and matters relating to it should be one of such issues requiring national efforts," he said.

Reacting to this development, Dr Tony Aubynn told Alfred Ocansey that "I have heard Mr President saying we should come with evidence and all of that is a bit impossible.

"We are aware of some who have concessions or some who have others working for them. There is nothing wrong with them doing business but that should be purely business done legitimately not based on political power.

"I think it is like you go to church and there is a wedding and they say this couple are going to marry and if you have anything come and say. Who will go there to say anything?

"I think I was a little taken aback because nobody will be brave enough to go and say that Minister this or MP that is doing ABCD. If you really want to fight you follow the leads of the information you get."

Dr Manteaw explained that several consultative fora had been organized in the past yet nothing concrete came out of those engagements, and asked President Akufo-Addo to punish persons in his government and party who are neck-deep in illegal small scale mining activities (galamsey) in the country.

Until that is done, Dr Manteaw said, the country will not make strides in ending the galamsey menace.

President Akufo-Addo, had insisted that "I am determined to enforce the laws on illegal mining no matter the subject, high or low. I will, however, not act on hearsay or mere allegations without more. I will not hesitate to act though where the evidence is hard before the police.

"And I will do so irrespective of the standing of the person or persons involved. That is the true meaning of equality before the law," he stressed.

"There are aspects of our national life which are of first subject matters of partisan politics. We must however come to the understanding that small scale mining with the requirement to do away with the illegalities in that sector should be beyond partisan politics.

"Some subjects simply cannot be part of our everyday politicking and I use this forum to insist that illegal small-scale mining and matters relating to it should be one of such issues requiring national efforts," he said.

But the Ningo-Prampram lawmaker insisted that those behind the menace are government appointees or person aligned to the governing (NPP) and thus urged the President to crack the whip to serve as a deterrent to others.

"Mr. President, it is your party national executives and regional executives, your party people, your presidential staffers, your former ministers who are engaged in the galamsey menace. They are the people carrying out small-scale mining and destroying our water bodies. So Mr. President, put your money where your mouth is. If you want to fight galamsey, deal with your own appointees and stop giving us soundbites and give us real action."

"The truth is that Mr. President, it is your party people who are doing the galamsey. Nobody in the NDC is engaged in it because we don't control the security agencies that are protecting these illegal miners. We don't manufacture excavators in this country, they all come through the port. So who is giving permits for those excavators to be imported? If the government is really committed to fighting the menace, can't the government place a ban on the importation of all excavators?"

Mr Sam George, made the call on Citi TV's Breakfast Daily programme yesterday.

His comments come on the back of the ongoing National Consultative Dialogue, a forum the President is hopeful will come out with a better roadmap for dealing with galamsey activities once and for all.

"Out of this maiden consultative dialogue, I hope we will build a national consensus around a national policy on small scale mining, that promotes a responsible, viable, environmentally sustainable small-scale mining industry, which has discarded the use of mercury, 'changfangs' and excavators, which has barred the involvement of foreign nationals, and which has rejected the destruction of our forests, environment and water bodies," President Akufo-Addo said.

Source: theheraldghana.com