The opposition National Democratic Congress has called on President Akufo-Addo to prosecute his appointees who they say have been cited for illegal mining.
According to the party, the President’s call to action on the illegal mining menace remains mere rhetoric if it is not backed by the appropriate action such as going after his offending appointees.
“We demand the immediate prosecution of all government functionaries and NPP officials who have engaged themselves in illegal mining (galamsey) activities such as Charles Bissue, Chairman Wontumi, Andy Owusu, Ekow Awusi, Prof. Frimpomg Boateng among others. This will be the first step to redemption and serve as a deterrent to other people within your government and party. You need to send a clear signal to Ghanaians that anyone caught in “galamsey” will be dealt with without fear or favour, regardless of party colours,” the party said at a press conference Thursday.
The National Communications officer of the Party Sammy Gyamfi who addressed the media also noted “We demand that all the so-called illegal mining companies like the Akonta Mining Limited which belongs to Chairman Wontumi and Heritage Imperial Mining Company which belongs to Mr. Donald Enstuah, a known financeer of the NPP who have invaded forest reserves without any mining leases or permits, must be closed down and prosecuted. The assets of these companies must be confiscated and their owners surcharged with costs of the destruction of those forest reserves.
“We demand that all security personnel complicit in illegal mining activities should be made to face internal investigations and discharged from the various services to serve as deterrent to others”.
The call comes after the President met chiefs in Kumasi on Wednesday over the crisis which has become a major talking point in Ghana.
The party also described as needless attempts by the President to offload responsibility of the illegal mining crisis on chiefs.
Below are details of a statement by the NDC
A PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY SAMMY GYAMFI ESQ., NATIONAL COMMUNICATION OFFICER OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (NDC) ON THE INCREASED SPATE OF ILLEGAL MINING IN THE COUNTRY AND MATTERS ARISING, HELD ON THURSDAY, 6TH OCTOBER, 2022.
Good afternoon to you ladies and gentlemen of the media. We welcome you with the greatest of pleasure to this engagement to discuss an issue of great importance to our collective survival as a nation.
We are talking about the ever-worsening spate of illegal mining popularly referred to as “galamsey” and its attendant devastation that we are witnessing on our water bodies, forest reserves, cocoa farms, and general ecosystem.
Having been at the fore front of bringing to public attention, stories about some of the most obscene and egregious destructive effects of illegal mining in recent times, we are pretty sure that some of you in the media may have grown weary of our continuous discussion of this subject matter, for the simple reason that the more we talk about it, the worse it gets by the day. We are perhaps as weary as you are.
However, collectively, we cannot afford to be weary, because we are dealing with a menace whose ramifications portend grave danger not only for our generation and the very survival of our nation, but serious consequences for generations unborn.
We wish to highly commend you in the media for relentlessly highlighting the deleterious effects of illegal mining and constantly spending precious airtime, sometimes even at the peril of your lives to bring this issue to the front burner.
We have always maintained, that as far as we are concerned, and as the evidence bears us out, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government has not exhibited any genuine commitment to the fight against galamsey. And that their so-called fight against “galamsey” is nothing but a scam.
Indeed, we have always told Ghanaians that the single most important thing needed to wage a successful war against illegal mining in Ghana is the political will of the duty bearers of the country to confront the menace and all the dark forces fuelling it, regardless of whose ox is gored. It has however been clear to us from day one that behind the façade of the so-called galamsey fight of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, is a well-crafted ruse designed to appropriate the illicit galamsey trade for NPP apparatchiks and higher-ups in the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government and their foreign collaborators.
Time without number, we have got the clearest confirmation from countless instances of state-backed complicity, active participation and sometimes clear aiding and abetment of the illegal mining activities not only by officials of the NPP, but by some of the very men and women in the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our environment.
Indeed, Ghanaians would recall that on 17th April, 2017, President Akufo-Addo was appointed as a Co-chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) Advocates alongside Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg. Subsequent to that appointment, President Akufo-Addo on July 10th, 2017, in a speech delivered at the Accra International Conference Center, promised to “put his presidency on the line” in order to win the war against illegal mining.
Sadly, today, not only has the President once again failed to walk his talk, but the image of galamsey stands like a towering monument, reminding all Ghanaians of President Akufo-Addo’s deceitful character and his lack of political will to fight illegal mining.
You would all recall the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) which was formed by President Akufo-Addo at the outset of his fraudulent fight against illegal mining. This committee drew support from the media, civil society, both political and non-political actors and the general public, promising to be a potent vehicle that will bring an end to the galamasey menace. Several millions of taxpayers money was spent on this venture which would turn out to be the first of several ill-conceived, half-hearted and fruitless attempts by this government to combat a very serious problem as galamsey.
After banning legal small scale mining for over two (2) years and murdering some innocent Ghanaians in the process in line with their “shoot to kill” policy as espoused by NPP MP for Bekwai and first Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu, Ghanaians would later come to know, the Inter-Ministerial Task Force had no genuine commitment to fight “galamsey”. But instead, set out with the sole motive of driving away some unemployed Ghanaian youth and in some cases, licensed small scale miners, and replacing them with New Patriotic Party functionaries and footsoldiers.
Today, government’s so-called community mining program, has been taken over by NPP functionaries and government officials.
President Akufo-Addo’s engagement with chiefs and MMDCE’s in Kumasi yesterday provided yet another opportunity for him to engage in his usual flowery speeches which cannot win the war against galamsey. While urging the chiefs to help depoliticise the fight against “galamsey”, the President is reported to have told his MMDCE’s that fighting galamsey will convince Ghanaians to help the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ‘break the eight’. This has been the true nature of President Akufo-Addo who says one thing and does the exact opposite. He promised to protect our environment but turned around to strengthen “galamsey” and supervise the most devastating degradation of our environment.
Ladies and gentlemen, how can the man, President Akufo-Addo who stood on a political campaign platform in 2016 in Obuasi and promised to promote illegal mining when elected, lecturer us on the need to depoliticize the fight against illegal mining?
Today, distinguished friends, illegal mining has gotten out of hand in nearly all regions of Ghana, as galamsey activities blossom in 13 out of the 16 Regions of Ghana, a clear testament to the fact that the fight is completely lost. Having enjoyed the biggest goodwill from Ghanaians, support from you in the media, civil society, and political opponents, and having marshalled the coercive force of the state and spent millions of taxpayers funds on “Operation Vanguard”, “Galamstop” among others, ostensibly in the fight against the “Galamsey” menace, President Akufo-Addo’s scorecard on galamsey is an unmitigated disaster just as he has proven to be in the area of economic management and all other facets of our national life.
Not only has this government failed to preserve our environment, but our leadership today has compromised agriculture, livelihoods, and Sustainable Development Goals 6, 13, 14 and 15 which among other things talk about Water and Sanitation, Climate Action, Life below water and Life on Land.
Today, Ghana’s water bodies are more polluted and contaminated than ever witnessed in the history of this country. According to a recent JoyNews documentary by a journalist with Kumasi-based Luv FM, Erastus Asare Donkor, titled “Destruction for Gold”, majority of Ghana’s water bodies, including River Ankobra, the Pra River, River Ofin, the Afu Afu Stream, River Bonsa, the Totoa stream, the Nwui river, River Tano, River Bia and the Amoya Stream are all terribly polluted.
It is instructive to note that according to the Water Resources Commission, the recommended turbidity levels for drinking water is 5 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU), while that for other water use ranges between 80 – 150 NTU. However, according to the documentary, samples collected from the above-mentioned water bodies showed turbidity levels of between 504 to 3,880 Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) as at the end of February 2022, which is 3,875 times higher than the acceptable value for drinking water. So badly polluted and contaminated are these water sources by mercury, lead and other dangerous chemicals, that water from these sources cannot be used for any human, domestic or even agricultural activity.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, as we have already indicated, President Akufo-Addo’s so-called fight against illegal mining is a complete scam. And we shall demonstrate this truth with six (6) instances where this government failed to act in the interest of the Ghanaian people relative to illegal mining.
- Missing Excavators, vehicles, gold, weapons among others.
Despite the initial goodwill that this government’s supposed fight against illegal mining enjoyed from you in the media and the Ghanaian people, despite the millions of public funds that were expended on the IMCIM and the standing force (Operation Vanguard, Galamstop etc.), the first of several shocking and dumfounding revelations that were to follow were reports that as many as 500 Excavators, several ounces of gold, weapons and other valuables that were seized from illegal miners could not be accounted for.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, as the whole of Ghana struggled to come to terms with reports of missing excavators, gold, weapons and other valuables seized from illegal miners, a certain video emerged of a conversation between then Minister for Environment, Science and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng and Ekow Awusi, the NPP’s Central Regional Vice Chairman and the Auctioneer of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce.
In the said video, Ekow Awusi is heard in an argument with the Minister at the latter’s office over the whereabouts of the missing 500 excavators. In the ensuing argument, Ekow Awusi was heard reminding the Minister that he was the one who instructed him to distribute seized excavators to some party officials and apparatchiks of the New Patriotic Party because “Party Hia Sika”, to wit, their party needed money. Ekow Awusi proceeded to remind the Minister that this agenda of “Party Hia Sika”, came from the New Patriotic Party leadership who had directed that proceeds from illegal mining be made available to shore up the party’s finances.
This confession all but confirmed reports that several of the missing excavators which were seized from illegal and small scale miners and entrusted in the care of government, were eventually distributed to NPP functionaries, who in turn took it to “galamsey” sites they had been allocated by the government.
Ladies and gentlemen, you would recall that Prof. Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment at the time filed a formal
Complaint with the Police accusing Ekow Awusi as the one responsible for the missing excavators. Sadly but unsurprisingly, nothing has been done about the case till date. The case has been rendered a “foolish case”. Neither President Akufo-Addo nor Vice President, Alhaji Bawumia has commented or shown any interest in the matter. In spite of the overwhelming evidence of the then Minister for Environment’s complicity in illegal mining and the missing seized excavators, he was kept at post. The excavator thieves have been left off the hook to enjoy their loot. The missing excavators were never retrieved. Yet, Ekow Awusi’s auctioneer license has been restored to him.
Indeed, some of the excavators were later found with NPP elements all over the country, while pick-up vehicles which were equally seized from illegal miners were distributed among party people for party work. Even more worrying was the fact that weapons seized from these illegal miners could not be accounted for, as same were either sold or shared to NPP footsoldiers, some of which landed in the hands of vigilante groups affiliated with the ruling government. These facts have been corroborated publicly by NPP’s Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong.
The manner in which the missing excavators scandal has been handled, is smoking gun evidence of the complicity of President Akufo-Addo and his government in the illicit “galamsey” trade and their lack of political commitment to fighting the menace and its devastating effects on our environment.
The “party hia Sika” scandal once again exposes President Akufo-Addo and the ruling NPP are the chief culprits of the politicization of the fight against the illicit “Galamsey” trade.
- Anas’ “Galamsey Fraud” Documentary
Friends from the media, you would recall that sometime in 2019, Ace Investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas of Tiger Eye PI fame, released an undercover investigative video which contained very startling details of how certain appointees of President Akufo-Addo and NPP apparatchiks made a mockery of the fight against illegal mining.
The documentary exposed the underbelly of official complicity in the fight against galamsey. It provided the clearest and most irrefutable evidence that beneath the surface of all the flowery rhetoric about protecting the environment and regulating small scale mining, President Akufo-Addo’s boys at the flagstaff house were promoting “galamsey” with reckless abandon through the shameful collection of bribes from Chinese and other illegal miners.
The evidence as captured on video revealed clear breaches of Ghana’s mining laws and other guidelines as espoused by the then Inter-Ministerial Task Force to help in its fight against the menace. As we witnessed in the undercover video, officials of the Akufo-Addo government who were entrusted with the responsibility to act in the best interest of the state, turned out to be the very enemies who compromised the state’s efforts.
In that video, Charles Bissue, the then Secretary to the IMCIM who doubled as a Presidential Staffer at the time, was clearly seen demanding and collecting bribes and abusing his office to facilitate illegal mining activities. Quite symbolically, Charles Bissue could be seen soliciting and collecting these bribes at a scene with a picture of President Akufo-Addo hanging conspicuously on a wall. It could be recalled that another supporting cast in the video was one Andy Owusu, who was dubbed a “connection man”, helping to facilitate the deal. Andy doubled as an Aid to Bernard Antwi Bosiako, popularly known as “Chairman Wontumi”, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP whose own galamsey exploits will be discussed later in this presentation.
Despite the mystery Mining Company (ORR Resource Enterprise) not meeting the vetting and verification procedure which provides for requirements such as inspection of documents like mining licenses, environmental and operating permits, Tax Identification Number (TIN), and other registration details, field mapping and other pertinent requirements, Charles Bissue circumvented all laid down regulations for ORR Resources Enterprise (the mystery company). He also sacrificed other mandatory requirements such as Minerals Commission, EPA and Forestry Commission permits on the altar of pecuniary inducement. The IMCIM’s roadmap was completely jettisoned and rendered a complete nugatory.
It is instructive to note that, till date no punitive action whatsoever has been taken against the then Secretary to the Inter Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining, Charles Bissue and his accomplice, Andy Owusu, Special Aide to the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling NPP, Chairman Wontumi who were caught on tape collecting bribes from Chinese and other illegal miners to promote their criminal activities at a time the ban on legal small scale mining was still in force.
Indeed, even before the then Special Prosecutor could probe into the conduct of Charles Bissue, the Police CID contrived to clear him of every wrongdoing and absolved him of his crimes.
The handling of “galamsey” fraud scandal is yet another clear instance of governmental complicity in the illicit “Galamsey” trade which is destroying our water bodies, lands, forest reserves, cocoa farms and our entire ecological system.
- The involvement of MMDCEs in “galamsey”.
Distinguished friends from the media, you would recall that sometime in the year 2018, the Minister for local government, Hajia Alima Mahama at an official conference with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government indicated that her outfit had evidence that several MMDCEs were engaged in the illicit “galamsey” trade. The minister went on to say that she knew the identities of the MMDCEs who were engaged in “galamsey” and was going to publish same but that never happened.
Since then, MMDCEs of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government who have been emboldened by this coverup and the President’s lack of commitment to the “galamsey” fight, have been actively promoting galamsey with brazen impunity.
Of the most troubling reports of the illegal mining activities of officials of the Akufo-Addo government have been those concerning the District Chief Executives for Elembele in the Western Region and Bosome Freho in the Ashanti region.
We begin with the DCE for Elembele who as far back as 5th April, 2020, was accused by his own NPP Constituency Executives of his involvement in illegal mining (galamsey) activities. These NPP executives had alleged that after a joint operation was carried out at some galamsey sites leading to the seizure of seven excavators and arrest of five persons, the DCE for Elembele, Kwasi Bonzo: “unpatriotically took ten thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC10,000) for each excavator, totaling GHC70,000 and shockingly released the excavators to them”.
No action whatsoever was taken against this DCE.
This is the same DCE who as recent as September 2022, was arrested for obstructing the Police in the retrieval of missing excavators that had been seized from “galamsey” sites in the area.
Under the watch of Kwasi Bonzo, Galamsey has now become a thriving “free for all” business in Ellembele. After destroying water bodies and forest reserves in the area, illegal miners have moved their equipment to the main township and are actively doing “galamsey” behind the official residence of the DCE and on the land of the Nkroful Senior High School in broad day light.
Then to the matter of the DCE for Bosome Freho in the Ashanti Region, Hon. Yaw Danso, who was clearly caught on tape directing party people on how they should use Chinese nationals to front their galamsey activities.
As far back as Monday, 1st February, 2021, some party executives of the New Patriotic Party and residents of the Bosome Freho District accused their District Chief Executive, Yaw Danso of engaging in galamsey activities. In fact, some residents described him as a “kingpin of galamsey in the area” who is fronting for Chinese nationals in illegal mining, and called on President Akufo-Addo to relief him of his post as District Chief Executive.
Indeed, the DCE is clearly heard in the audio that has emerged confessing to receiving 5% of the proceeds of galamsey from someone, which translated to an amount of GHC15,000 every two weeks as agreed between he and the owner of the galamsey concession in the presence of their lawyers. He was also heard in the audio giving instructions to someone to bring in Chinese miners to engage in galamsey in exchange for cash.
This strong evidence has been available to President Akufo-Addo and people at the forefront of the galamsey fight, yet they have failed to crack the whip.
President Akufo-Addo’s comment on this matter during his engagement with MMDCEs and some Chiefs in Kumasi yesterday shows clearly that he hasn’t repented from shielding his officials who are engaged in illegal mining and proves what walking contradiction he is, as he continues to skirt around this very important issue. Having admitted yesterday that he was aware of reports of the galamsey activities of his DCE for Bosome Freho, Yaw Danso, President Akufo-Addo’s claim that his errant DCE has lost his mother and would be invited to Accra for questioning at a later date, clearly betrays the President’s lack of genuine commitment to punish his own appointees who are behind this illicit business.
The Ghanaian people are simply tired of the President’s cocktail of empty and useless rhetorics on this subject of galamsey. We are saying to him today, that it is either we begin to see action on his part or he should simply spare us his empty talk.
- Compromised Operation Vanguard, Operation Galamstop and Operation Halt after $3 Million spent on Drones.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, at the heart of President Akufo-Addo’s failed fight against illegal mining has been a huge expenditure on various military and sometimes joint security operations. From Operation Vanguard to Operation Halt and Galamstop, several millions of Ghana Cedis have been expended on procuring logistics, feeding security personnel and ostensibly reclaiming lands in the name of fighting illegal mining.
Despite the huge public funds that have been committed to the fight over the years, government has turned a blind eye on various reports of bribe-taking and extortion by security personnel embedded in these task forces. Instead of combating illegal mining, security personnel have been caught on camera time and again guarding galamsey sites and protecting illegal Chinese miners in areas such Tontokrom and Bipotenten in the Amansie areas of the Ashanti Region.
One such instance as revealed by a JoyNews report involved a Company known as Heritage Imperial deep in the Manso forest enclave of the Ashanti Region. The report revealed that military men belonging to the Ghana Armed Forces, assisted by members of the NPP vigilante group, Delta Force, were actively offering protection to a galamsey site.
These evidence have been available to the President Akufo-Addo and the powers that be, yet no action was taken to rid the task force of such criminally-minded officers. No wonder the fight has been a futile one and the various task forces have been a complete waste of taxpayers money.
Ladies and gentlemen, the former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. John Peter Amewu, under whose leadership the galamsey fight began made an observation that members of the Operation Vanguard Team had been compromised by illegal miners. His statements were corroborated by then Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Eric Daffour.
Aside these happenings in the early years of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, which have been indelibly inscribed in the womb of time, we also do recall that some chiefs in the Amansie area in the Ashanti Region had cause to accuse then head of the Forestry Commission, the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John and other high-ranking government officials of fronting illegal mining activities in that area.
Also, as recent as 27th April, 2022, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who also doubles as the MP for Tarkwa Nsuem, George Mireku Duker was accused of his involvement in a dispute between two illegal small scale mining gangs, the Okobeng gang on one hand and the Mireku Duker side on the other hand. The leader of the group alleged to be affiliated with the MP died on the spot from a gunshot, while the leader of the Okobeng gang sustained deep cutlass wounds on the head and ears and was rushed to the Korle-Bu teaching hospital. The Deputy Minister and MP for Tarkwa was never sanctioned by President Akufo-Addo for allowing illegal mining activities in his backyard let alone actively encouraging and associating with same. Today, the Pataaho forest in Dompim, the hometown of Mireku Duker who doubles as a Chief in the area has become the hotbed of illegal mining, while he, who is supposed to be championing this government’s so-called fight against “Galamsey” looks on unconcerned.
Friends from the media, all the cases we have outlined point to an indisputable fact that the so-called fight against illegal mining under President Akufo-Addo has long been a wobbly, compromised one that is bound to fail. President Akufu-Addo has taken no interest in investigating these reports and bringing the named errant appointees to book. The only reasonable explanation for this strange reluctance of President Akufo-Addo to act on these cases of official complicity in “galamsey” is that President Akufo-Addo is himself complicit and benefits from the illicit “galamsey” trade of his appointees.
We all recall how under the leadership of Prof. Frimpong Boateng as Environment Minister, about $3 million of taxpayers money was spent on procuring drones for the use of these taskforces. Can the President tell the nation the whereabout of these drones and what use they have been put to?
- Chairman Wontumi and activities of his Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve
Distinguished friends from the media, we are pretty sure you have followed recent events pertaining to the illegal mining activities of a company belonging to Bernard Antwi Bosiako, aka Chairman Wontumi, who is the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party. The said Company, known as Akonta Mining Limited, is reported to have been engaging in extensive illegal mining activities in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve located at Samreboi in the Western Region, without any mining lease, mineral right, and/or permit to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve. This fact has been confirmed by the Minerals Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, yet Wontumi is still walking free.
As earlier revealed, Chairman Wontumi is one of the biggest and leading galamsey kingpins in this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, whose galamsey footprints have left vast devastation in various forest reserves in Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Western North Regions among others.
Emboldened by the nonchalance and lukewarm posturing of the President, NPP bandits and thugs who now work for Chairman Wontumi had the effrontery to engage in an open armed combat with the anti-Galamsey task force of the Okyehene at Asaman Tamfoe in the Eastern Region two weeks ago. This is how brazen Wontumi has become in his indiscriminate “galamsey” activities and destruction of the environment under the watch President Akufo-Addo and Vice President, Alhaji Bawumia.
As a leading figure within the NPP, we can understand why President Akufo-Addo has refused to crack the whip on Wontumi’s destruction of the environment, because this conduct ties perfectly into the grand agenda of “Party Hia Sika”, which aims at mobilizing money for the New Patriotic Party through illegal mining activities.
- The Aisha Huang Debacle
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the final nail in the coffin of Akufo-Addo’s failed galamsey fight must certainly be the ignominious Aisha Huang debacle. The Aisha Huang debacle, as putrefying as it is, undoubtedly sums up the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government’s fight against galamsey, which has been one of hypocrisy, double standards and complicity.
We are sure, that you are all aware of how the Chinese woman, Aisha Huang, who was arrested in May 2017, and charged for undertaking illegal mining in Ghana and allegedly deported from the country in December 2018, ‘miraculously’ reemerged in Ghana.
Aisha Huang, who gained extreme notoriety for her galamsey activities and was tagged as the “Galamsey Queen”, is said to have been in Ghana all this while and was back to her illicit galamsey business until she was recently arrested after one of her partners reported her to the Police.
Indeed, many, including us in the NDC casted doubt over whether or not she was deported from the country in the first place when she was first arrested in 2017. As fate will have it, the chickens came home to roost when in a recent interview with Stone City FM in the Volta Region, on Monday, 12th September, 2022, truth mistakenly fell out of President Akufo-Addo’s mouth. In response to a question on the re-arrest of Aisha Huang, the President said: “I’m not sure whether she was in fact deported or whether she fled the country the first time, and has now come back”.
Much as the above statement from President Akufo-Addo was tragic, it revealed the inner truth and naked underbelly of the so-called fight against galamsey which has been nothing but lip service, half-hearted effort and complicity.
Having been arraigned before court once again and charged, it remains to be seen whether the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government will finally clothe itself in some glory, by prosecuting the notorious Aisha Huang to serve as a deterrent to others. But judging from events in times past, we are not in the least hopeful for any positive outcome. Only time will tell.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, as we have amply demonstrated, the so-called fight against galamsey by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government is a scam and has been a lost battle from day one. This is because, there has never been any genuine commitment or political will on the part of the President to combat the menace.
History has shown that any time a leader sets out to fight a certain crime in society, be it illegal mining, corruption, drug trafficking or any other vice, there is bound to be resistance from dark forces, including those who benefit directly from those crimes. However, what distinguishes leaders who succeed from those who fail is the genuine political will not only to bring sunshine on those crimes, but to severely punish the culprits in order to serve as a deterrent to like-minded persons who may contemplate those crimes.
President Akufo-Addo has proven to be a leader who has specialized in talk without backing same with deeds. Today, our beloved country stands at a cross-road of unprecedented economic mess and unprecedented environmental degradation under the watch of President Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Bawumia.
Instead of accepting responsibility for his failed “Galamsey” fight, President Akufo-Addo aided by his Minister of Lands and Naturals Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor have resorted to shifting the blame to the Chieftaincy institution. This latest attempt by the Akufo-Addo government to blame the failed “Galamsey” fight on Chiefs and community leaders is shameful to say the least and must be condemned in no uncertain terms.
It is about time President Akufo-Addo understood the important duties of the high office he currently occupies. He is the President of the Republic and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed forces. As President, he has authority and control over the security services and coercive powers of State. The mineral resources of the country are vested in him in trust for the people. And therefore he has the ultimate responsibility to ensure compliance with the mineral and mining laws of the country and the prosecution of those who breach same. More importantly, only he has powers to hire and fire appointees of his who engage in illegal mining. No attempt to shift or share the blame for his failed “Galamsey” fight will wash.
Mr. President, leaders are elected to solve problems, but you have only come to create more problems for the country only to turn around to massage the problems with flowery speeches and empty promises. Ghanaians are tired of your flowery speeches and useless rhetorics. Your so-called fight against galamsey has been a spectacular failure, and the only way to salvage it is for you to man up and finally begin to crack the whip on your errant appointees and NPP functionaries who are neck-deep in the “galamsey” business.
Mr. President, we demand the following urgent, concrete actions from you if you want Ghanaians to take you seriously:
- We demand the immediate prosecution of all government functionaries and NPP officials who have engaged themselves in illegal mining (galamsey) activities such as Charles Bissue, Chairman Wontumi, Andy Owusu, Ekow Awusi, Prof. Frimpomg Boateng among others. This will be the first step to redemption and serve as a deterrent to other people within your government and party. You need to send a clear signal to Ghanaians that anyone caught in “galamsey” will be dealt with without fear or favour, regardless of party colours.
- We demand that all the so-called illegal mining companies like the Akonta Mining Limited which belongs to Chairman Wontumi and Heritage Imperial Mining Company which belongs to Mr. Donald Enstuah, a known financeer of the NPP who have invaded forest reserves without any mining leases or permits, must be closed down and prosecuted. The assets of these companies must be confiscated and their owners surcharged with costs of the destruction of those forest reserves.
- We demand that all security personnel complicit in illegal mining activities should be made to face internal investigations and discharged from the various services to serve as deterrent to others.
Mr. President, until you undertake the above actions faithfully, your so-called renewed fight against “galamsey” will remain a mirage. And you will be remembered by posterity as the President who promoted illegal
mining by his appointees, party functionaries and their foreign collaborators and
supervised the worst destruction of our environment.
Before I conclude, let me make the point that the NDC is not against mining in principle. What we are against is illegal mining, particularly mining in water bodies and irresponsible mining that destroys the environment without any reclamation. What we are vehemently against is hypocrisy of government officials, who after destroying the businesses of legal small miners, have turned around and engaged in the menace with brazen impunity.
Thank you for your attention ladies and gentlemen of the media and may God bless our homeland Ghana.
SAMMY GYAMFI ESQ.
NATIONAL COMMUNICATION OFFICER NDC