9:44, 24.May 2017
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has accused some military personnel of protecting illegal small-scale miners (galamsey) in some areas in the Ashanti Region.
“The law enforcement agency, especially the Military are protecting an illegality and I think that it is time the truth be told. Most of the sites we visited today were heavily manned by the military command and I was wondering under what circumstances [were they undertaking this exercise] because my [office] had under no circumstance signed any contract with the military to protect those illegality,” Mr Amewu said.
“We tried finding out from the Minerals Commission and the Minerals Commission has established beyond all reasonable doubt that they have never under any occasion established any contract with those military, and, so, whoever authorised those military [personnel] to be protecting the Russian and Ukranian sites, I think it is time those people answer very important questions. I don’t think the military will be doing those protections because they are military. And of course they will be paid handsome rewards for those activities they are undertaking. …Until the law enforcement agencies begin to take this action seriously, I don’t think there is any way we will achieve our objective,” he added in an interview with Citi FM.
Mr Amewu has been touring mining sites in the Ashanti Region to see at first hand if a directive by government for all small-scale miners to stop operations is being adhered to.
The Nana Akufo-Addo-led government, in an attempt to protect water bodies and the forest, has launched a zero tolerance for galamsey. Since it began its anti-galmsey war, over 1000 excavators have been withdrawn from various mining sites across the country.