Private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has descended heavily on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over his recent comments on Akonta Mining Company Limited.
The mining firm, said to belong to New Patriotic Party’s Ashanti Region Chairman Bernard Antwi Boasiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi, has been accused of illegally mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western North Region.
But addressing the issue when it was raised by the chairperson of the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association held in Koforidua, President Akufo-Addo said the mining firm was not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana.
“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.”
The issue is, however, before the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) under investigations while the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has also been petitioned by some civil society organisations.
Reacting to the President’s comments on TV3 on Wednesday, January 4, Mr Kpebu said President Akufo-Addo could have even put it in a different way.
“At this stage, considering that we presented a petition to the CID and the CID are investigating Chairman Wontumi and his co-director and Akonta Mining for illegal mining, it’s certainly with bad posturing for the president to have waded the way he did.
“He could have said this in a different manner because with what the President has stated, though on the face of it he seems to be saying that currently Akonta Mining does not engage in illegal mining, considering the context, it’s going to be spinned.”
He said the comments have the tendency to demoralise the CID from going ahead with its investigation.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has defended the president, saying his comments were rather to assure the nation of the protection of all 294 forest reserves.
Akufo-Addo's comments on Akonta were an assurance to the country – Lands Minister, Abu Jinapor#3NewsGH pic.twitter.com/pinfXlqP1c
— #3NewsGH (@3NewsGH) January 5, 2023