BNI Names Galamsey Kingpins

By: Thomas Fosu Jnr

BT Baba

BT Baba

Investigations conducted by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) into illegal mining activities, popularly called ‘galamsey,’ have indicted some prominent politicians, chiefs and military kingpins who are alleged to be the brains behind most of such illegal mining activities across the country.

DAILY GUIDE has not independently verified the personalities named in the report, but the 20-page report cited by Joy FM leaks aspects of the BNI investigative report, which allegedly names some of the politicians as Benson Baba Tongo, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Talensi in the Upper East Region (UER) who it is claimed, is behind galamsey activities in the Talensi constituency.

Meanwhile, Mr BT Baba has debunked the national security confidential report.

The lawmaker and sports administrator has admitted owning a small-scale mine in the Upper East Region and engaging in same but said his documents are completely legal.

Ghana’s laws allow small-scale mining but a number of the small-scale miners are deemed to be engaging in galamsey which has polluted river bodies in Ghana, destroyed farm lands and the environment in general.

Another person named by the BNI is Bunyak Kolog, an alleged financier of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Talensi constituency, who was also reported as financing galamsey activities in the UER, while an unnamed official at the Precious Minerals Office at Bolgatanga, the regional capital of UER, was also found to be financing galamsey activities in towns such as Gbane, Blung and Datoku – all in the Talensi District.

The BNI report said that prominent chiefs in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region are also actively behind galamsey in the district.

In towns like Adieworsu, Jumako, Abura, Tonru and Mempeasem, chiefs and elders are said to be actively involved in galamsey.

According to the report, the chief of Bokorkope in the Shama District of Western Region, Nana Issah Muni, is said to have acquired a concession from the Minerals Commission and the Shama District Assembly under the pretext of winning sand, but ended up using it for illegal mining activities.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bupong Construction Limited at Twifo Praso in the Central Region, Prince John Baidoo, has also been indicted in the report.

The BNI said the CEO is engaged in alluvial and surface illegal mining in the Twifo Praso, Beposo, Sekyere-Krobo, Sekyere-Didieso, Basase and Sekyere-Nsuta areas of the Central and the Western Regions.

There were only two regions that the report said did not have cases of illegal mining activities.

Checks conducted in the Volta and the Greater Accra Regions revealed that there were no illegal mining activities there.

The BNI report comes at a time pressure continues to mount on the current Nana Akufo-Addo administration to clamp down on illegal mining activities that are responsible for the pollution of the country’s water bodies and the environment in general.

Ghana is losing its water bodies and forest reserves due to ‘galamsey.’

From the Western Region right to the Eastern Region, water bodies that serve as the major sources of drinking water for residents have been polluted, with the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) complaining bitterly about the increasing cost of treating polluted water for consumption by the public.

Since the start of efforts to end the practice, some gains have been made. Available data at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources reveal that a total of 500 excavators used by some illegal miners have been handed over to the government.

The Minerals Commission has also said there has been a reduction in the quantity of gold that is traded by natives.

The BNI report revealed that there is growing dissatisfaction with government’s campaign to clamp down on galamsey.

“The directives given to illegal miners to stop mining activities within three weeks by John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, received mixed reactions from illegal miners, residents of communities affected by activities of miners and the public,” the report indicated.

It cited the claim by some youth in the Brong-Ahafo Region that government’s directive is not a sustainable measure in combating the menace.

Apart from the backlash of the effort to stop the galamsey activities, the report said efforts to end the practice have also received widespread commendation.

“The general public was also unanimous in condemning collusion and involvement of some chiefs, politicians and security personnel,” it pointed out.

 

Source: modernghana.com

I Was Almost Arrested For Stopping Illegal Chinese Miners – MP

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm has revealed that he was almost arrested for trying to stop some Chinese who were into illegal mining activities.

According to him, if anybody dares to go to any illegal Chinese mining site to stop their activities they will be arrested or worse because they are well guarded by soldiers and even if u report them to the authorities, nothing will be done about it.

Narrating his ordeal to Akwasi Boateng, host of ‘Maakye’ on Hot93.9 FM, Mr. Quarm stated that in his quest to stop these illegal Chinese miners, he was summoned to the police headquarters and as a result of this, these illegal miners feel they have the right to operate because no body will do anything to stop them.

He revealed that some large scale mining companies whom he refer to as “unpatriotic Ghanaians” are partly to blame for the rampant illegal mining activities popularly known as ‘galamsey’ in the country.

He said ” when these unpatriotic Ghanaians acquire their mining permits which is the recognisance and prospective licence to start their large scale mining, they then divide parts of their legally acquired concession into small scale mining and sell them to these Chinese illegal miners.”

Explaining further, he indicated that, “Each small scale mining is 25 aches of land and in all, they could get a total of about 100 small scale mining and when they sell each one to the Chinese from $50 to 100,000 per land, within four to six months, they [large-scale mining companies] gain about five million dollars because they do not pay tax thereby robbing the state”.

He backed the three weeks ultimatum given by the Minister of Lands and Natural resources John Peter Amewu to ‘galamsey’ operators to stop their activities or face the rigour of the law.

He has also urged the ministry to revoke the licence of “these nation wreckers” who are the large scale mining companies in order to do a thorough investigation on the sale of their permits to illegal miners since that will be the best place to start the course of abolishing ‘galamsey’ in Ghana.

This comes after experts at the Ghana Water Company warned of the country’s risk of importing water for consumption if illegal mining activities are not stopped.

Source: modernghana.com

Galamsey: Fighting The Undying Witch

By: Gordon Offin-Amaniampong

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong examines
What did our governments clamp down in the past and were able to sustain it?

Is it illegal logging by loggers? Is it squatters at Sodom and Gomorrah or those around Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra? Is it power cheaters who indulge in illegal power connection? Is it cocoa smuggling in our country’s borders by smugglers? Is it vigilante groups who’re constantly terrorising people? Is it the activities of land guards? Or is it middle-men who swindle prospective travelers trying to obtain passports?

The irony is that all of them have bounced back—operating vigorously. Their activities seemed emboldened! Inhabitants of Ghana’s biggest slum, Sodom and Gomorrah are back: They’re back to where city authorities evicted them from, less than two years ago. The squatters and hawkers are also back in the streets.

And the key argument hasn’t changed: they must earn their daily bread. The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange Area which not too long ago had a make-over is relapsing —going back to its ugly and insane state. In fact, on Wednesday some hawkers held placards amidst inscriptions like this: “We won’t leave this area today or tomorrow.”

The stubborn amongst them all is illegal mining operators also known as ‘Galamsey ‘in Ghana. Their activities in recent times have reached an alarming proportion. No doubt about that, they’ve stepped up their game. This followed the influx of the Chinese. I recall awhile back government deported number Chinese citizens who were in the country illegally.

Today, they’re back in their numbers. And together with Ghanaians they’re degrading and destroying our ecosystem. They’re poisoning and exterminating our water bodies. Our vegetation covers have been laid bare—raped and left naked.

They’re creating man-holes, producing sinkholes and setting up deathtraps. They’re as dangerous as explosive mines. Over the last 10 years it appears the operators have sworn an oath– basically to launch a deadly onslaught to our very existence.

Is this the land of our birth? Is this the land we swore to protect? Is this the land (the greenbelt) our forebears bequeathed us? Where did our leaders go? Where are they?

And whether it’s legal or illegal Galamsey has come to stay. That sounds crude or rather rude. But it’s the hard truth. Galamsey isn’t going anywhere at least not for now. Maybe not until the lands have run out of those much-sought-after minerals. Until the gourd is down empty or tanked the drunk knows no stop.

Backed by invisible hands they have succeeded in growing not an ordinary roots but giant roots, making it hard for authorities to deal with them.

But what is Illegal mining?
Writer Phillipe Dozolme defines illegal mining as: “The absence of land rights, mining licence, exploration or mineral transportation permit or of any document that could legitimise the on-going operations.”

It can be operated on the surface (open cast) or underground. It’s illegal because in most countries underground mineral resources belong to the state. The latter applies to Ghana too, but Galamsey has trespassed that. I must note there’d been crack downs on illegal mining in the past but all to no avail.

Question is: Are we at our wit end?
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu announced recently that he’d placed a moratorium on licences for small-scale mining. This is part of activities to halt illegal mining operation in the country. The move, the sector minister also indicated was to help ensure saneness in the environment.

”I have not signed a single small-scale-mining licence, since I assumed office. This is an attempt to sanitise the system,” Mr. Amewu said.

Indeed Ghana is fighting an undying witch. We‘ve picked up a fight which portends to be a lifetime battle. You may not like the way I’ve put it but that’s the reality on the ground. I normally don’t say things like that. I am a man full of hope, full of aspiration. I am an optimist and not pessimist.

Obviously, the conditions on the ground leaves one to wonder whether our governments had been waging these fights with kid’s gloves or they’d condoned and connived with the operators or they didn’t have long-term strategies or plans to do so. It could be that we’re at our wit end.

Remember the father who brought his demon-possessed son (Mark 9:14-29) to Jesus’ disciples to be healed? They’d no idea what to do and how to fight the demon. They lacked the firepower. Bottom-line they couldn’t do it. Jesus rebuked them after healing the boy.

I felt I had been wounded twice or three times this past few days. The images I saw—the photos and the videos on social media platforms grieved my heart. I couldn’t understand what’s going on. I struggled to make sense out of all that–the degrading state of our ecosystem is so graphic. It looks so atrocious so horrible and so terrible.

The activities of these miners are out of hand. Sad though, we have to come this far to realise that we’re losing or have lost something that is so precious. It’s so sad our leaders couldn’t stop it at its nascent stage. It seems to me it was business as usual and politics at its best. It seems to me they went to sleep whilst the busy bees got busy to degrade, to destroy tad to pillage that which our forebears fought graciously to possess and passed it on. And perhaps what‘s left now is misery and hopelessness.

World Bank report on Ghana had indicated, by the end of 1995 the total hectares of the land destroyed through the activities of Galamsey were approximately 150,000 hectares. That was then, over 20 years on the acclivities of illegal mining have picked up like never before .Thus your guess could be my best bet.

Between 1994 and 2001 a study discovered that there were five major cyanide spillages and leakages. Five rivers in the Prestea area in the western region of Ghana suffered greatly’.

Last March, Minister of Environment Science and Technology Dr. Frimpong Boateng kind of raised the threat level. Whilst meeting staff of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) during a working a visit in Accra Dr. Boateng hinted that our water bodies were under siege. He said the country risk losing the very existence of these precious water bodies if radical steps are not taken to resuscitate their lives.

“We know that our rivers are dead, some of them …Some of the rivers are dead—Offin, Ankobra, Pra, Oda, there’s no fish in them, in most part of the rivers. And when you find animals and fish dying from our empty forests and dead rivers it is only a question of time that it will reach the human beings,” Dr. Boateng said.

According to the sector minister if we don’t change our negative practices we would literally kill these rivers prematurely. “We have to change our attitudes there must be a change like President Akufo-Addo said. We should not be spectators but be active participants.”

“If you look at what is happening to the environment, it is something like a self-inflicted injury

Certainly the danger has become imminent, so disturbing that if stringent measures are not taken we would end up as sore losers. The country that once boasted of its virgin forests, safe water bodies, rich soils, beautiful vegetation, and the picturesque landscape is gradually losing it all by the day. The ecological damage has been great.

Bittersweet
In Africa, Ghana is the second largest gold producer contributing to about 5.7 per cent of the country’s GDP. And the activities of illegal mining have tremendously contributed to the growth of the economy. The jobless youth have found jobs, crime rate has gone down. However the environmental impact of their activities is unparalleled. Galamsey depletes environmental resources such as water; soil, landscape, vegetation, the ecosystem among others.

Also lives had been lost over the period and we’re still losing lives. In November 2009 a collapsed occurred in an illegal mine in Dompoase in either Ashanti/Western region. At least 18 workers were killed including 13 women who worked as porters for the miners. A similar incident occurred at Kyekyewere near Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central region.

Solution
Perhaps the solution to this cancerous problem rests in the bosom of the new administration’s ‘One-District-One-Factory across country mantra. It’s a long term project, but if implemented they would go a long to help bring the activities of illegal mining down. Remember, when there was Aboso Glass Factory, when there was Kumasi Jute Factory there was no Galamsey but there was gold. When there was Nsawam Cannery Factory, the Komenda Sugar Factory there was no Galamsey gold was there. When there was the Bonsa Tyre Factory, the Bolga Meat Factory and the Tomato Factory at Wenchi there was no Galamsey but there was gold.

As a people our problem has always been not providing alternative measures. And not being proactive but reactive. You don’t evict the Sodomites and the Gomorrahites if you haven’t made any provisions for them. Then when you provide the alternative, ensure the laws are implemented to the letter. That’s the way to go…Don’t blame me, if you can’t make the dogs bark and bite.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Chinese Mission angry over galamsey reportage, calls for fairness

By: Jonas Nyabor, citifmonline.com

 

The Chinese mission in Ghana has expressed anger at the manner in which Ghana is dealing with the issue of illegal mining and has criticized the media for targeting China in their reportage on the matter.

The mission in a letter addressed to John Peter Amewu, Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, the mission said if nothing changes about the nature of campaigns against illegal mining in the country, bilateral relations between Ghana and China would be affected.

It said it was concerned about, “a number of distorted or biased reports and stories on Chinese people, especially some reports and cartoons that are defaming Chinese leaders and senior officials,” in the media concerning the incident of illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.

The mission in the letter sighted by citifmonline.com called on the government to pay attention to the situation which is suggested sought to paint undermine China.

“The Chinese side is very concerned about this unhealthy tendency. We hope that the Ghanaian government will pay due attention to this situation, take the necessary action to stop such things from happening again and guide the media to give an objective coverage on the illegal mining issue so as to create a good environment for further development of our bilateral exchanges and cooperation.”

Campaigns against illegal mining in the country have in the last few months intensified with Citi FM championing a #StopGalamseyNow campaign that is gaining momentum, rallying various stakeholders to address the menace which has left devastating effects on the country’s environment.

Evidence from media reports and CSOs, including police arrests suggest the high involvement of Chinese in the activities, but according to the Chinese mission in the country, its [Chinese] government attaches great important to the illegal mining issue and is firmly against the involvement of Chinese in illegal mining issue in Ghana.

Chinese illegal miners arrested
The mission said was taking measures such as source control and persuading Chinese miners to go back to China and urging Chinese nationals to conduct legal business in Ghana to support Ghana’s fight against the menace.

It also said the government must guide the media to ensure they do not publicize defamatory stories against Chinese leaders.

“We sincerely hope that the Ghanaian government shall take responsibility of guiding the media and requesting them not to publicize such defamatory reports or stories against Chinese leaders officials and the Chinese government.

This will help create a sound environment for our joint efforts to address this issue and the continuous development of our bilateral relations,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has given illegal miners a 3-week ultimatum to quit their operations.

The sector minister has given assurances that he will lead a task force to arrest illegal miners and destroy their equipment after the ultimatum.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Citi FM petitions Parliament over galamsey [Photos]

Citi FM on Friday presented its #StopGalamseyNow petition to Parliament in a bid to secure the legislative body’s support for the fight against illegal mining in the country.

The Petition which was submitted by Director of News Programming and host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Koku Avle was received by the leadership of Parliament led by the Majority and Minority Leaders, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu respectively.

Citi FM in the petition urged Parliament to take up the galamsey fight and put pressure on the executive and other stakeholders to stop the menace.

“We are praying Parliament to use the petition to cause some work to be done and recommend what government should do decisively on this menace. This is a lot of media partners, CSO coming together with Citi FM being the prominent one praying Parliament to take up the galamsey fight,” said Bernard Avle.

The Majority Leader in receiving the petition commended Citi FM for taking up the fight.

“Galamsey operations are contributing to the wanton destruction to the natural resources of this country. Lands are being destroyed, water bodies are being destroyed and minerals are being stolen. The constitution provides that all natural resources in this country shall be vested in the President. The President holds them in trust on behalf of the people of this country. What is happening now is that whatever they gain they smuggle away from this country and the country doesn’t benefit in anyway apart from the havoc that is being caused in the environment.”

“People who farm are denied their farms leading to the rising of poverty in the country. Water bodies are contaminated and today it takes about four to five times the cost of purifying water in those areas there is galamsey activities and there are times that they are unable to treat the water due to the chemical content and that is a dangerous thing that is going to happen to this country. So I think as a country we should unite behind this clarion call…every one of us is affected and in particular generations yet unborn.”

For his part, Haruna Iddrisu described the #StopGalamseyNow campaign as “bold and courageous initiative.”

He further urged Citi FM and his partners not to give up on the fight against the menace.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Galamsey operators support measures to address menace

By Lydia Asamoah, GNA
Accra, April 7, GNA – A group of Illegal miners (galamsey operators) from the Western Region have called on Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, to express their readiness to assist government in addressing the menace of galamsey.

The group, who were made up of members from Amanfi East, Amanfi West, Amanfi Central and Prestea Huni- Valley districts, mining operators, was led by Nana Ntori Bonkyi Akomea and Nana Asafotse Badu both from Amanfi East District.

The Group said they were also concerned about the devastation to water bodies and the forest lands as well as appreciated the public outcry over the situation and therefore supported efforts at finding solutions.

Nana Akomea on behalf of the group said they were ready to collaborate with government to regulate activities of small-scale miners and illegal operators and to ensure that they operated within the confines of the law.

He said they supported the idea of a moratorium, a period of time where everybody would be made to lay down their mining tools and to be made part of addressing the menace.

‘We are ready to halt all activities of mining in the communities, to allow all stakeholders to come together to repair the damages by covering abandoned pits left uncovered whilst reclaiming the land through afforestation and tree planting,’ he said.

Nana Akomea suggested that all those who mined in the rivers and along the river banks should be stopped but those who operated on the land within the confines of the law should be supported and their capacities be built to enable them operate in the right way.

‘We all know that gold cannot be left under the ground, it needs to be mined so we are pleading that we should be helped to do it in the right way,’ he said.

Nana Badu on his part called on government to look at the licensing regime in granting mining concession to individuals and organisations and decentralised it at the district levels to ensure that all operators were granted appropriate licenses, and were monitored to see that they operated under the rules of engagements.

He said indeed there were about some four million people in the country who benefited from galamsey operations both directly and indirectly, and that it should not be disregarded at all but that they should be assisted to do the right things in the right ways.

The group also appealed to government to assist them form taskforces to monitor their colleagues in doing the rights things in the mining sector.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng appreciated the efforts by the operators in helping find solutions to the menace, saying, that it was critical to protect and preserve the water bodies and to recover the lands.

He said he would send their concerns and appeals to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to take a decision on the way forward.

He said the government would also collaborate with the local communities to recover the lands through tree planting exercises after the land had been recovered.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Chinese Galamsey Operators Caged

The structure which housed the Chinese on the river. INSET: The suspects

The structure which housed the Chinese on the river. INSET: The suspects

A Sekondi high court has remanded the five Chinese and five Ghanaians who were arrested last Friday by the police in the Western Region for reportedly mining gold in River Ankobra, as their lawyer, Stephen Alawabah, wants them freed.

“I want them to be set free because they are human beings. They have rights and I think once they have been here (court) they need someone to defend them in order to be able to prove the case,” he stressed.

The Chinese and their Ghanaian counterparts were reportedly seen mining in the river in two communities – Bamiankor and Duwale – last week Friday.

The Chinese suspects are Dong Cheng, 30; Hung Jian, 51; Ning Guorui, 42; Yin Biquiang, 46 and Li Zilong, 44.

The Ghanaians are Eric Owusu, 28; Kwabena Adjei, 50; Nana Adu, 42; Kwasi Owusu, 28 and Kofi Darko, 21. The police were said to have seized mining equipment from the suspects and were put before court yesterday.

Speaking to journalists at the Sekondi magistrate court after brief proceedings, the lawyer for the suspects remarked that the truth of the matter would be uncovered in the course of the trial.

“The onus lies on the prosecution to prove their case better. What the prosecution is saying might not be necessarily the truth and at the end of the trial people will appreciate the fact that may be the police did not do well for bringing up the case.”

When pushed further, he added, “Not necessarily do I want the suspects to be set free. In fact, we want justice to be delivered – the type of justice that everybody will appreciate.”

Drama
Drama unfolded when the ten suspects were initially hauled before a Sekondi magistrate court yesterday.

The expectations of the audience and journalists who trooped to the court premises in their numbers were not met as the proceedings did not last long.

According to the prosecutor, Sgt Francisca Nyarko, the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, considering the nature of the offence and the punishment assigned to it.

She then prayed the court to refer the case to the circuit court in Takoradi.

The magistrate, Susana Eduful, then discharged the suspects but they were rearrested and sent to the circuit court for hearing.

Immediately the judge made the pronouncement, the journalists and some of the residents who were in the court room quickly moved out and joined available vehicles straight to the Takoradi circuit court.

However, to the disappointment of the numerous journalists, they realized that the circuit court did not sit when the suspects were brought to the court premises.

The suspects then had to be taken back to Sekondi and this time, to the high court.

The suspects were put before a Sekondi high court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante.

Their pleas were taken and the court remanded them into police custody to reappear before it on Monday, April 10, 2017.

That was after a state prosecutor, George Sackey, had prayed the court to give the prosecution some time to further investigate the case.

“We want to find out whether they (suspects) are conducting their mining activities with licence from the relevant authorities and so the police should be given adequate time to investigate,” he told journalists.

He continued, “If the suspects are granted bail, they are likely to interfere with witnesses desiring to testify in the case.”

Counsel for the suspects told the court that his clients were entitled to bail, looking at the offences preferred against them.

The court however, refused to grant the alleged galamsey operators the bail and remanded them.

Water Bed
The Chinese were arrested in the well-built ‘water-homes’ on River Ankobra covered with tents and mosquito nettings. They had also built a toilet on the river, surrounded by their mining equipment.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Flush Out Chinese In Galamsey

At the weekend, good old Ghana Television did all Ghanaians a favour by showing Tiger Eye’s exposé put together by Anas Aremeyaw Anas on how illegal mining, otherwise known to the average Ghanaian as galamsey, is destroying our water bodies and degrading our lands.

Everybody with true Ghanaian blood flowing in him or her must be annoyed by the way foreigners, mainly Chinese, have invaded our territory and turned our water bodies into poisonous liquids, ready to decimate our population.

The Chronicle is aware of many excuses being offered by the presence of these Chinese in illegal mining, with the claim that there are Ghanaian collaborators. We do not pretend to be unaware that powerful Ghanaians are behind these brazen Chinese flouting our laws with impunity.

Invariably, they are aided by chiefs, politicians, and even members of the security services. That is a fact we cannot run away from. But does the presence of local collaborators make it legal for Chinese nationals to mine our gold illegally and poison our water bodies? The answer is a big No.

The laws of Ghana are clear. Foreigners have no place in small-scale mining. It pre-supposes that the State of Ghana has a duty to flush out these Chinese, who are brazenly flouting our laws.

What makes the Chinese presence in galamsey even more alarming is that they are responsible for heavy machinery in our rivers searching for alluvial gold, in the process of which our rivers are poisoned with dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury.

Apart from poisoning our sources of drinking water with careless abandon, most of these Chinese are trigger-happy, ready to shoot and kill anybody they consider as an impediment to their dangerous operations. In the hinterland, where these illegal Chinese ply their trade, there are credible reports of killings, rape and other activities that endanger the lives of the local inhabitants.

The Chronicle believes that the first line of attack on galamsey is to get these Chinese out of the country. We do not believe arresting these illegal miners would constitute any infringement on our investment code. We do not believe it hinges on xenophobia either. These are criminals and should be treated as such.

We do not believe any Ghanaian could go to the People’s Republic of China on any kind of visa and enter into mining. Why are we tolerating them here then?

It is the submission of this paper that no attempt at ending the galamsey menace would succeed without a concerted assault on the presence of Chinese in illegal mining.

This country is a haven for foreigners who come in, flout our laws with impunity, and make money at the expense of the local people.

Surely, we cannot continue to put the lives of our people and future generations at risk, by allowing these Chinese to continue to pollute our water bodies and degrade the land.

We are urging the government to wage a war on these Chinese, with the clear goal of flushing them out of the system. The Chronicle is happy with all the vibes being made by the new Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. But, Mr. Peter Amewu would not win the war on galamsey without flushing out these Chinese in the illegal trade.

When the Chinese have been dealt with, it would be relatively easier to get our local lads in galamsey to listen to reason. Galamsey is the greatest threat to our existence at the moment. President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has a duty to this nation to flush out these Chinese, clean up our poisoned water bodies, and stop the degradation of our farmlands.

President Akufo-Addo, put your feet down!

 

Source: modernghana.com

Lands Minister warns politicians, chiefs financing galamsey to stop

By: Austin Brako-Powers, myjoyonline.com

 

Lands and Forest Minister John Peter Amewu has warned government will not spare anyone in its effort to combat illegal mining known as galamsey.

He has served notice to politicians, chiefs and other Ghanaians who are backing the illegal miners to desist from same forthright else they would be dealt with if they are found culpable.

Speaking on the Joy FM’s Top Story programme Tuesday, Mr Amewu said government will act swiftly because the political will to stamp out the practice is high.

A major discourse in the country for the past month has been about the activities of illegal miners that are degrading the forests and polluting water bodies.

The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a development blamed on illegal mining.

These activities are carried out by some Ghanaians with their Chinese counterparts in largely poor communities in the country.

Last Friday, six Chinese were arrested in the Western Region for illegally mining in the Ankobrah River, muddying it beyond use.

Mr Amewu has indicated his preparedness to save Ghana’s environment by discouraging the practice.

On Monday, the Minister met with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Sun Baohong to discuss with her how she could work with government to discourage the Chinese from going into illegal mining.

At the end of the discussion, Mr Amewu begged the Chinese Ambassador to speak to her fellow nationals.

Some Ghanaians were displeased with the tone of the Minister, suggesting his posture indicates he is not in the position to end the menace.

But Mr Amewu said he was not soft on the Chinese as it has been claimed in the public. “I spoke with passion…I made an appeal.”

He said the reason Ghana has not been able to end the practice is because previous governments adopted militant and combative approach. “They have not worked.”

He said they are coming with a more sustainable approach to end the practice and save the environment.

Upper Denkyira West Member of Parliament (MP), Nsonwah Gyan, has asked government to tread cautiously in its attempt to flush out illegal miners.

He said galamsey has become the main source of livelihood for many people, adding any attempt to discourage the practice without an alternative source of livelihood will not work.

“My constituency will be most affected if these galamseyers are flashed out because about 10,000 people are into in this industry and for that the government has to take a second look at it,” he said.

Although he admitted illegal mining has led to the pollution of the rivers in his Constituency, Mr Gyan said it has employed “so many young people” who also taking care of their families.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Government is not taking galamsey activities lightly – Minister

By: Joyce Danso, GNA

Accra, March 28, GNA – Mr Peter John Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources on Tuesday affirmed government’s commitment to fight against activities of ‘galamsey’ operators which turn to pollute water bodies and deplete farm lands in the country.

‘Government is not taking galamsey activities lightly at all. We are serious about it. We cannot allow these activities to continue…government would soon roll-out measures in the coming weeks to stem their activities,’ Mr Amewu stated.

The Minister spoke to media practitioners after the inauguration of the Ministry’s Audit Committee at a ceremony in Accra.

Mr Amewu commended the media for the advocacy carried out against the activities of galamsey operators, adding; ‘with the kind of sentiments displayed by the public, measurers taken against operators by government would not generate any hue and cry’.

The Minister therefore appealed to the media to continue to offer the needed support as the government marshalled forces to combat the activities of galamsey operators.

On the inauguration of the Committee, the Minister assured the members that the Ministry would support it to deliver on their mandate effectively in order to achieve the government’s agenda.

He therefore, entreated the Audit Committee to regard themselves as ‘partners in development and to always make national interest paramount in the discharge of your duties.

‘I wish to charge incoming members of the Committee to apply the principles of integrity, honesty, objectivity and humility in all that they do,’ Mr Amewu added.

The five- member Committee include Mr Isaac Amartey, a representative from the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) as their chairman.

Other members are Mr Amewu, Professor Bruce Baneong-Yakubu, Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr Samuel Gyekye-Mensah a representative of IAA and Mr Samuel Baimbill-Johnson a representative of Institute of Chartered Accountant.

The Audit Committee formally known as Audit Committee Report Implementation (ARIC) was a statutory and high level independent corporate governance committee in the Public Sector Financial Management System.

It is mandated to follow up on the implementation of audit recommendation to ensure efficient and effective utilisation of public resources in line with the objectives of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA).

According to the PMFA, 2016, Act 921, the Audit Committee at the Ministerial level consists of five members including two top management members from the Ministry.

The three other independent members are also drawn from IAA and ICA.

Mr Ransford Agyei, Acting Director General of IAA, who sworn in the five member committee, reminded members that six month after the end of each financial year, they were required to submit reports to the Office of the President, Parliament and Auditor General.

According to Mr Agyei, they were also mandated to pursue the implementation of Parliament’s decision on the Auditor General’s Report and indicated the remedial action taken to avoid recurrence of undesirables feature in the accounts of operations of the Ministry.

 

Source: modernghana.com