Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson has described the government’s fight against illegal mining popularly known as galamsey as a “fraudulent one.”
His comment comes on the back of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng’s report to the President on the failed work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, which was set up by President Akufo-Addo to fight the illegal mining menace.
According to Dr Forson, the galamsey fight was shrouded in a well-calculated ruse to enable key government officials and functionaries at the Presidency to dabble in the very illicit business of galamsey.
Quoting from the report, the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam lawmaker noted that despite the President placing a moratorium on April 1, 2017, suspending all artisanal and small-scale mining in the country for a total period of one year and three months, “we are told that in 2018, the government, acting through the Forestry Commission and Ministry of Lands, somehow contrived to give out all forest reserves in Ghana for mining activities.”
“To confirm the grand collusion, despite a Cabinet directive in 2019 to suspend the issuance of new licenses and permits, more illegal miners, including Chinese gangs, entered Ghana’s forest reserves with the help of government officials, and the destruction of Ghana’s forests and environment continued unabated,” he stated in a Facebook post.
These revealing issues and several others in the report, Dr Forson said call for a national probe.
In a 37-page report, Former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, gave specific details to back his earlier allegation that there are people at the Jubilee House as well as members of the governing New Patriotic party – from the lowest to the topmost officials – who are actively engaged in illegal mining (galamsey).
The former minister who said the kingpins orchestrated his ouster from the Akufo-Addo administration because he was fighting their galamsey activities, said the presidential galamseyers as well as the party people involved in the illicit enterprise, use Chinese as fronts.
“Throughout our struggle with illegalities in the small-scale mining sector, what baffled me was the total disregard of the president’s commitment to protect the environment”, he wrote.
“I can state without any equivocation that many party officials from the national to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers or relatives engaged in illegal mining”, he added.
“Most of them engaged Chinese working for them”, he noted.
“I am not referring to party people who had their legitimate concession and were mining sustainably as they were instructed to do. There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace”, he clarified.
He cited an NPP MP in the Ashanti Region who used his position as a member of the Minerals Commission to acquire several dozen large-scale concessions in his district, ostensibly for community mining purposes only to sell them to private individuals, including party members, at GHS200,000 apiece.
“This infuriated the party in the constituency so during the 2020 primaries to select a candidate the electorate voted against the sitting MP, who was more resourced than other candidates. Although there were allegations that he “camped” delegates and attempted to bribe them, he lost to a lesser known individual who did not have any financial muscle”, he added.
He also said some leading NPP officials served as lawyers for some galamseyers.
The then-Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) also said he put together the report dated 19 March 2021, following an order from the chief of staff.
He also accused a reporter of engaging in unlawful excavator sales and money laundering at the behest of some government appointees.