The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor has told former president John Dramani Mahama that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has not interfered with the investigations of Akonta Mining following his recent comment on the operations of the company.
He said the president did not comment on past activities of the company.
Mr Mahama criticised President Akufo-Addo for stating that Akonta mining is not involved in illegal small scale mining (galamsey).
He described President Akufo-Addo's comment as ‘shocking' and ‘impudence'.
President Akufo-Addo, in a remark after concerns about the menace of galamsey came to the fore at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association held in Koforidua, said “Let me respond briefly to the chairperson on the issue of illegal mining.
“I want to assure him and all of you that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak.
“Further, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has through the agency of the Forestry Commission with the assistance of the military made the effort to cordon off all 294 sites of forest reserves in the country and rid them of illegal mining as we speak.”
President Akufo-Addo was responding to a concern expressed by the chairperson of the occasion, Ing. Ken Ashigbey, regarding Akonta Mining Company Limited's supposed infraction of the laws to mine in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western North Region.
Commenting on this in a statement, Mr Mahama said “That penchant by the president to absolve his appointees and other close associates of any wrongdoing as he has done with the ongoing investigations into the operations of Akonta Mining Company is a serious dent on the already deteriorating image of the Office of the President.
“As though proud of that dishonourable badge, ‘the clearing agent', Nana Akufo-Addo has yet again justified the appropriateness of his nickname with the seeming presidential exoneration of Akonta Mining, a company owned by a member of his political party (NPP) and accused of illegal gold mining in the country's forest reserves.
“The shocking impudence is how and when he even did that at a public event called by the country's catholic clergy.”
Responding to Mr Mahama, Abu Jinapor who is also lawmaker for Damongo said in series of tweets that “Dear President Mahama, I have read, Sir, with utmost dismay, your Facebook post regarding the comments made by the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in Eastern Region, when he addressed the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National..
“the comments by the President in no way relates to past or future activities of Akonta Mining, and cannot, by any shred of imagination, be deemed as exonerating the company from any past activities or interfering with any ongoing investigations;
“when I received the report from the investigations conducted by the Forestry Commission, pursuant to my directive, I forwarded the report to the Ghana Police Service, through the Minister for Interior, to assist them in their investigations
“as it is public knowledge, the allegations of illegal mining by Akonta Mining Ltd are being investigated by state institutions responsible for such investigations, the Ghana Police Service and the Office of the Special Prosecutor;
“the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Police Service has subsequently written to me requesting some further information, which I have provided
“the Office of the Special Prosecutor, in its Half Yearly Report dated 31st December, 2022, also states that the Office is currently investigating activities of Akonta Mining and other companies in respect of the said allegations.”
By Laud Nartey/3news.com/ Ghana