Akonta Mining not involved in illegal activities - President Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has absolved Akonta Mining from any wrongdoing, saying that the company was not involved in any illegal mining activities anywhere in the country.
The President was addressing the Catholic Bishops Conference and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association in Koforidua in the Eastern Region on Wednesday (Jan 4, 2023).
“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 activities in any part of the country as we speak,” he said.
“Further, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has, through the Forestry Commission and with the assistance of the military, cordoned off all 294 sites of forest reserves in thecountry and rid them of illegal miningas we speak,” President Akufo-Addo added.
Meanwhile the Media Coalition Against Galamsey has in an interview with the Daily Graphic, reminded the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, of his promise to investigate and bring to book owners and officials of Akonta Mining Limited for their alleged involvement in illegal mining activities.
According to the coalition, there was substantial evidence to prosecute the directors of the mining firm for their alleged engagement in illegal mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western Region in contravention of the ban on mining in such reserves.
The reminder is a follow-up to two petitions earlier written to Dr Dampare to carry out swift investigations into the alleged illegal mining activities by the firm, said to be owned by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi-Boasiako.
The coalition is made up of some civil society organisations (CSOs) and convened by Ken Ashigbey.
The Minerals Commission in a statement in October 2022, had also said that Akonta Mining had no mineral right nor a mining lease to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.
According to Ashigbey, the coalition was concerned about the seeming silence on the request for investigations, adding that persons identified had not been invited for questioning let alone charged.
He explained that the reminder to the IGP was to sustain the campaigns to send signals that the fight against galamsey was not only in words but indeed, and that the “real financiers and beneficiaries of this menace must be made to bear the brunt instead of poor workers who often have no choice but to engage in the act to survive”.
Dr Ashigbey said they would make an effort to meet with Dr Dampare again for feedback on their petition since the IGP also owed it a duty to the nation to help stop galamsey.
Asked why the coalition would not allow the process to take its course, he said: “We are currently unaware of any actions to investigate, arrest and prosecute the directors and officers of Akonta Mining despite the incontrovertible evidence that the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, his ministry and the Minerals Commission have in their possession evidence that shows the company has in fact undertaken alleged illegal mining operations”.
According to the convener, other stakeholders, including the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, had also called for the prosecution of officials of the company for the alleged offences.
“It cannot be that there is no sufficient evidence to establish that Akonta Mining has a case to answer and that there is insufficient evidence to initiate prosecution against the company’s director and officers, he said.