Crime & Punishment of 2014-02-02

Galamsey operators arrested for polluting river

The Nkawkaw District Police Command has arrested two galamsey operators whose activities have polluted the River Nwin, which serves the people of the Bramkrom community, near Nkawkaw in the Birim North District.

The police also seized their equipment, including the ‘chanfan’, a piece of equipment they use to dig sand from the riverbed to mine gold from the river.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Bramkrom, the Odikro (chief) of the community, Nana Kwabena Chartey-Bram, said during the dry season, water became very scarce in the area.

The situation is even more precarious as nurses at the Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) Centre face serious challenges getting water for their work, especially during deliveries.

Nana Chartey-Bram disclosed that on December 29, last year, when he heard of the illegal mining on the river, their only source of water, he reported the matter to the police.

He, however, said ‘it seems the police are reluctant to prosecute the case; as the last time I visited the police, the crime investigator told me to withdraw the case and settle it amicably with the illegal miners’.

When the GNA contacted the District Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Seth Yirenkyi, he said he was not aware his crime investigator had made that suggestion, and that his outfit was still pursuing the case.

He said he rather expected the complainant to report back to him about his displeasure about the investigator and not to go to the media.

DSP Yirenkyi said they arrested two suspected illegal miners as the others bolted at the sight of the police.

According to him, the two suspects had since been granted police enquiry bail, pending further investigations.

Nana Chartey-Bram said the community was heavily starved of water and that the little water from the only borehole flowed late in the night, ‘sometimes a bucket full’, which is shared amongst households, especially to those in dire need.

According to him, the River Nwin, which serves as the alternative water source, had now been polluted by ‘galamsey’ miners, so they were unable to use it.

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