Akufo-Addo’s Comment On Akonta Mining Won’t Affect OSP Probe – Jinapor

Source The Ghana Report

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, says President Nana Akufo-Addo’s comment on Akonta Mining Limited will not affect investigations by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).

His response follows a question concerning a pronouncement by President Akufo-Addo on Akonta Mining’s operations, which is under investigation by the OSP.

In a report on Tuesday, the Special Prosecutor revealed that investigations were ongoing into the mining company’s activities.

On Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo, at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association in Koforidua, mounted a defence for Akonta Mining Company Limited, claiming that the firm is not involved in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana.

Akonta Mining Limited is owned by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), also known as Chairman Wuntumi. The company has come under criticism for violating mining laws by illegally extending operations into a forest reserve.

Responding to a question about why Chairman Wontumi continues to walk a free man when he should be investigated and prosecuted, the President 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,” he added.

However, addressing the press after a meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff and the Military High Command on Thursday, Mr Jinapor said, “The President was not speaking about the wrongdoing or otherwise of Akonta Mining in the past, the criminality or otherwise of Akonta Mining in the past. He was giving an assurance of the state of affairs as of the time he was addressing the conference.

“It cannot absolve them neither can it interfere with any investigations because I say the President was not speaking out of context, the President was speaking in response to an anxiety which has been expressed by the speaker at the conference.”

The statement has also raised eyebrows among some stakeholders, including the convener of the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining Kenneth Ashigbey, who has expressed disappointment with President Akufo-Addo’s defence of Akonta Mining over its alleged involvement in illegal mining activities in the country.

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