The political activist finds it ridiculous, claims by Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, minister for environment, science, technology & innovation who doubles as chairperson for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) that most of the excavators that were seized from illegal miners are missing.
While commenting on figures attributed to former lands and natural resources minister, John-Peter Amewu, that a total of 500 excavators were seized in the fight against galamsey, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng in an interview on Joy FM said “it was far lower than the 500 put out” but added that some of the machines were nowhere to be found.
“That was not the case. We were told that 500 had been seized and given to the district assemblies. But later on, when we out to check, the figure was far less than that.
“That was the case in most of the areas so we sent people out there to talk to the district assemblies and we got Vanguard involved and most of them had disappeared,” he disclosed.
Kwame Asare Obeng (A Plus) reacting to the post referenced the controversy surrounding the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) 47 million cedis guinea fowl and afforestation contract with Asongtaba Cottage Industries under the John Mahama-led administration, taunting that the seat of government, like the guinea fowls and excavators, will disappear.
“Akonfem disappeared, Aboboyaa disappeared; now excavators have also vamoosed into thin air. One day, Flagstaff house will disappear na asa,” sarcastic A Plus said in a post.
Influential persons behind galamsey
The Forestry Commission has said unseen powerful persons are behind the resurgence of illegal mining in some forest reserves in the country.
Rexford Twum-Damoah, Bekwai District Manager of the Forestry Commission, is said to have told journalists that illegal miners sometimes enjoy military protection, making the fight against galamsey impossible.
“They [the illegal miners] will always tell you our bosses, our bosses. You will go there and meet the boys [in the forest]. We came here with all forces and they also had military protection. The actual entry started around 2nd January 2020,” he said.
Prior to this, convener of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, Ken Ashigbe called for the arrest and prosecution of such persons.
He argued that the heavy machines and equipment used for galamsey cannot be afforded by miners on the sites because such heavy-duty machineries are expensive.
Meanwhile, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng has said that about 90% of illegal small-scale miners (galamseyers) have ceased operations since the Operation Vanguard Team was established almost three years ago.
“I can say 90 percent, by and large, [of] those who are doing galamsey, I can say about 90 percent have stopped. These galamsey people are people who have no money to buy concessions, have no money to buy excavators; they get their shovels and things and go to the bush and start digging. That is what we call galamsey – gather and sell – these are people we are targeting. So far, we have about 20,000 for community mining and I’m saying that so far we have 20,000 or more”, he said in an interview on Monday.