Former Deputy Managing Director of the National Investment Bank (NIB), Alfred Thompson, has stated that he endorses the burning of excavators seized in the act by illegal small-scale miners(galamseyers) for the fear that it shall be released back to the owners or the caretakers themselves may employ them in the illegality.
He said the crusade against galamsey is a national fight that needs the engagement of all in order for it to succeed but not be perceived as a fight for government alone to wage against the canker.
He said this in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day show on TV3, Thursday, May 20.
Mr Thompson was speaking on the heels of criticism from a section of Ghanaians against the decision to burn excavators seized from the perpetrators of illegal mining.
Critics believe that the state can find the need for these impounded machinery, especially during the rain season where there is the need for dredging of drains and gutters all around the country.
He said “we don’t want you to come and blame the Defence Minister or the Minister of Lands that excavators are missing, where are they? They have taken possession and said, I don’t need it, I’m destroying it. It’s not that they can’t trust their own men, you saw the latest information he gave that, when they leave there in the evening, people come as late as 9pm to 4am to mine in the middle of the forest or by the river bodies. Do you trust these people to stop? This fight is not a government fight only.
“You know why the President had to take the drastic decision that education should be free for all? Because you don’t want the situation where when you sit down some people will use that as a business. You might want to do the right thing, someone you are leaving the excavator with might be doing the wrong thing, should we continue that tangent? There are some that are parked in Adenta, those that were seized previously, they can be given to various assemblies that need them. But these ones must be destroyed on site, you know that the control board cannot be used by another excavator? You go there, by the time you realize the machine is so hot, you try to start it, it’s not starting because they have taken the control board out and everything.
“So you realize that the person has run somewhere to hide, waiting for you to go and they come and continue their activities. Let us all come together and fight this, it’s a national fight, it’s a national call, it’s not an individual call”.
On his part, legal practitioner Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, spokesperson for the National Democratic Congress(NDC) dissented by quoting an article of the Constitution on Minerals and Mining(Amendment Act 2015) saying “I am surprised that the two people who have spoken so far are legislators, the Defence Minister and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah are both MPs. I just want to read a portion of the minerals and mining(Amendment Act 2015) and in fact Dominic Nitiwul was in parliament when this law was passed, that’s Act 900, it says a court which convict a person for an offense under section 234 shall in addition to the penalty imposed, order the forfeiture of any equipment or product seized under subsection 5 to the state.
“The Minister shall, within sixty days after the confiscation of the equipment or product, allocate the equipment or product to the appropriate state institutions and publish in the gazette. You know why they don’t want to comply with this law? If you comply with this law, excavators cannot have wings to vanish. And because you have to put it in the gazette and each excavator has a unique chassis number and so in order not to do this, go through the rigorous process of the rule of law, they have decided to burn them on site and you know that, as we speak there is a judgement from the High Court in Kumasi where they state again burn these excavators and the state is having to pay millions of dollars in judgement debt.
“ So we should know that, as we speak, we cannot go on this path and expect a different result. Government must just know that this country is organized around the rule of law, it’s not the rule of men or desires of men. I am saying that when you give responsibility to state officers and they do not act relative to their mandates, what you don’t do is entertain them”.
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana