“Disappointed” OccupyGhana, anti-galamsey journalists demand answers on missing excavators

Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng

The Media Coalition Against Galamsey and pressure group OccupyGhana are demanding a response to some six critical questions as they express their displeasure over revelations of missing excavators.

Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, admitted that many seized excavators have gone missing at the various assemblies.

The Minister of Science Technology and Innovation spoke in an interview on Joy FM monitored by theghanareport.com.

While disputing the claims of former Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John-Peter Amewu that the seized heavy-duty equipment was 500, he could not state the actual numbers.

Missing ‘galamsey’ excavators joins list of 7 bizarre ‘disappearances’ in Ghana

His admission seems to have infuriated the Media Coalition Against Galamsey and OccupyGhana who said they are “disappointed and saddened”.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the two groups condemned the “inability of the government to enforce the law”.

They expressed concerns about the failing ‘War Against Galamsey’.
“Operation Vanguard has all but petered out. That is unacceptable,” the two organisations stated.

Several seized ‘galamsey’ excavators missing – Minister reveals

Government constituted the IMCIM and deployed the Operation Vanguard taskforce comprising the military and the police in 2017 to tackle the menace.

The perpetual ban on illegal mining is still in force while a temporal ban on small-scale mining has been lifted with a roadmap for regularisation.

However, there have been concerns that illegal mining is still ongoing with influential persons as financiers of these activities.

Convener of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, Ken Ashigbey and the Commander of the Anti-Galamsey Taskforce, Operation Vanguard, Col. William Nii Nortey, have made comments attesting to the allegations.

However, Prof Boateng insists on facts before the commencement of any investigations.

He said investigations cannot be commenced based on allegations.
“We want facts. If you know that there is some big person behind something, let us know with proof and some documents. We want some element of proof that we can follow” he stressed.

Below is the full statement from the two groups:



Accra, January 29, 2019 – The Media Coalition Against Galamsey, OccupyGhana, and we believe, most Ghanaians, are disappointed and saddened by the revelation by the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Frimpong Boateng that hundreds of seized Galamsey excavators have disappeared from District Assemblies around the country.

Our deep concern at this revelation stems from the fact that the authorities have simply once again failed to follow and enforce the law. The inability of the government to enforce the law, from the facts as we know them, is only matched by the brazenness of the illegal miners.

We have many questions for the government that require answers, and we respectfully demand those answers.

First, under the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act, it is illegal for anyone to “erect equipment… for the purpose of mining” without being the holder of either a mining lease or a small-scale mining licence. Everyone who does this commits an offence. The government has to explain to Ghanaians whether the persons from whom the equipment was allegedly seized were also arrested. If that did not happen, the government should explain why it did not happen. Or, were the illegal miners also allowed to disappear just like the equipment?

Second, the law then provides that upon the arrest of illegal miners, the equipment they were using “shall, regardless of the ownership…, be seized and kept in the custody of the police.” It is for very good reason that the law demands that the equipment should be kept by the police, and no other institution. The government, therefore, has to explain to Ghanaians why the equipment allegedly seized was kept with District Assemblies and not the police. Was this deliberate? Was this to make it very easy for the equipment to simply ‘disappear’? Did anyone take an inventory of the seized equipment and if so where is that inventory? Which public officers were responsible for flouting the law?

Third, the Act demands that the arrested persons should be tried in court and then upon conviction, the court is empowered to “order the forfeiture of any equipment… seized.” The

government has to explain to Ghanaians whether the persons from whom the equipment was seized were duly prosecuted, and if not, why not? Without prosecution, the seized equipment cannot be forfeited in the manner the law demands. Are any prosecutions still taking place? If so, have there been any convictions? And if so, did the courts’ order forfeiture? Is the government able to publish a report on these matters?

Fourth, the Act provides that within 60 days of the confiscation, the Minister for Mines shall “allocate the equipment… to the appropriate state institution and published in the Gazette the name of the state institution to which the equipment… is allocated.” We do not need to ask this question because it is pretty obvious to all of us that this has not happened.

Fifth, the Roadmap For Lifting of Ban on Artisanal & Small Scale Mining & the Way Forward policy document says in section 3.2.1 bullet 3 that there shall be a “Directive by the Government/IMCIM to move all earthmoving mining equipment for artisanal and small-scale mining to designated areas for subsequent registration and installation of tracking devices. This will be done under the direct supervision of the Regional Ministers prior to the vetting of artisanal and small-scale mining companies”. Obviously from the statement of the Minister this directive has not been implemented.

Also, section 3.2.5 states that “The Minerals Commission in collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have been tasked to register and install tracking devices on earth moving equipment to ensure that the use of the equipment at inappropriate locations are monitored and reported. A committee was formed to deal with the registration and installation of the tracking device on the earth moving mining equipment.” Has this provision been implemented? If it had, these excavators would have been registered and could be tracked making it impossible for them to be stolen. Can the government explain to Ghanaians why this has not happened?

And, sixth, we also need to know from the government whether all existing mining leases and small-scale licences have now been submitted to Parliament for ratification as is required under both the Constitution and the Minerals and Mining Act.

Considering the above and the revelation by the Minister, the government should be as unhappy as we are, and more so. If the government with all the power and force at its disposal is unwilling to or incapable of implementing and enforcing its own laws, then it gives a signal to potential wrongdoers that we have no respect for the rule of law; it is just something we mention to others to make us feel good. That is why the nation is still under brazen attack from illegal miners. They

know that we make noise and even deploy our military, but we have no teeth to bite. Nowhere is this more evident than the blatant illegal mining at the place called “Dollar Power,” and the apparent inability or unpreparedness of the government to enforce the law there. This and the impunity it connotes should be a scar on our conscience.

We are therefore not surprised that the War Against Galamsey is generally accepted to be failing. Operation Vanguard has all but petered out. That is unacceptable. We call on the government to shake itself out of its stupor and enforce the mining law without fear or favour. We also call on the media and civil society organizations to reawaken, hold leadership to account and reinvigorate the #StopGalamsey war.

Losing this war is not an option. Irresponsible and unsustainable mining is an existential threat and should not be countenanced.

Issued by:

Media Coalition Against Galamsey


Source The Ghana Report/ Dave Alamisi

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