National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress(NDC) Sammy Gyamfi, has called on government to approach the fight against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) with sincerity and candor by tracing the crimes to the kingpins behind the canker.
He said, all that government has done so far in the crusade against galamsey is to rather burn the excavators which are the evidence that can be used to prosecute those involved in the illegality in the court of law. And that going after the minions and torching the excavators without looking for the kingpins bankrolling the galamsey only amounts to insincerity and lack of candor on the part of government.
In an interview with Johnnie Hughes on the New Day show on TV3, Tuesday, June 8, Mr Gyamfi said the reason why the first fight against galamsey failed was as a result of a genuine political will on the part of the President, his appointees and his party echelons.
He was reacting on the back of an expose documentary by TV3’s Alfred Ocansey on the illegal mining going on in that forest reserve in the Eastern Region of Ghana. In that expose titled “Sacrificing the greens for gold”, the perpetrators disclosed that they are working for their “big man” which Mr. Gyamfi alluded to as party echelons of the New Patriotic Party(NPP).
“You see this is what happens when you have a group of people who have little regard for truth and principle in office. Because this whole talk about we are fighting galamsey and that there is a new fight against galamsey is not genuine and for that matter will suffer the same fate the first fight that was launched by President Akufo-Addo in 2017 against the menace of galamsey suffered. The reason why that fight did not succeed had to do with the lack of candor, lack of sincerity, lack of a genuine political will on the part of the president, his appointees and his party apparatchiks” he charged.
He added that “unfortunately that is the same fate we are seeing now, they told the whole country that they have launched ‘Operation Halt Phase Two’ to stop all forms of mining in forest reserves and water bodies. Ordinary Ghanaians have been arrested, some have been assaulted, mining equipment have been burnt for the cameras but some of us have maintained that until this government actually traces the real kingpins behind this illegal mining menace, arrest them, prosecute them and jail them as prescribed by our Minerals and Mining laws. The latest of which was assented to by President Akufo-Addo in 2019, we are going nowhere with this illegal mining menace.
“For example, when your colleague interviewed the people he saw at that site, the people there said that they are working for their director because the people we see at those mining sites are not the owners of the concessions. They can’t afford an excavator so the real kingpin sits in Accra or wherever he may be, pumps money into the business, these casual workers will work and they come and give him the money.
“So if you just arrest them, these casual workers who don’t own the concessions, the investment, you burn their excavators without actually using the excavators as important exhibits or evidence to trace the real owners of that concession, that business, arrest him, prosecute him and jail him. Now the law says when a person is convicted for engaging in illegal mining, he can be sentenced for a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years, which is very punitive and deterrent, yet President Akufo-Addo has chosen the lawless path ”.
“So we have said that the surest way in fighting and winning the fight against illegal mining is by approaching that fight with candor and genuine political will and by arresting, prosecuting and jailing the real culprits, particularly the real kingpins” Mr Gyamfi further added.
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana