The Concerned Small-Scale Miners Union of Ghana (CSSMUG) has called for the immediate arrest and suspension of the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John and Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, also known as Wontumi for their alleged engagement in illegal small-scale mining popularly known as galamsey.The Minority in Parliament has accused the two top functionaries of the Akufo-Addo administration of being deep-rooted in galamsey in Jacobu in the Ashanti Region despite the ban on the practice.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Minority spokesperson on Mines and Energy, Adams Mutawakilu also accused the President of covering up the two officials.
Sir John has however refuted the accusations.
Responding to the allegations, he said the Minority was misled by rumours started by a traditional leader in the area. Sir John explained that he had contracted a company only to undertake a reclamation exercise and not any illegal mining activity.
“I want to state emphatically that we have not engaged in any illegal activities. What is true is the fact that we gave some contract to a company to undertake a reclamation exercise as a result of a letter given to me by the Minister authorizing me to do such exercises. I am not involved in mining and nobody is mining on my behalf,” he told Citi FM Eyewitness host Umaru Sanda Amadu.
But the President of CSSMUG in a statement has said, “We have ample evidence to prove that the very public officer into whose care the nation's forests have been entrusted is neck deep ravaging the bellies of some of the most virgin of forest reserves for gold, under the guise of 'reclamation'.
The statement signed by Michael Kwadwo Peprah in part added that, “Our long-held stance has been vindicated by the chiefs of the Amansie Traditional Area in the Ashanti region who have openly accused Sir John and no mean a person than the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako alias 'Chairman Wontumi' of engaging in galamsey deep inside the Apampram Forest Reserve in the Amansie Central District.”
The Union is, therefore, calling for the arrest and subsequent prosecution of the NPP members over their alleged underhand engagements in galamsey.
It is also pushing for government to lift the so-called ban on illegal small-scale mining, citing a possible protest “if Sir John and Chairman Wontumi are not arrested to make way for investigations into the allegations against them.”
Meanwhile, Chairman Wontumi has also rejected the allegations and dared his accusers to provide evidence that he’s complicit in galamsey.
Read the full statement below
For Immediate Release
Arrest Sir John and Wontumi for engaging in 'galamsey' - CSSMUG
The Concerned Small Scale Miners Union of Ghana (CSSMUG) demands the immediate suspension and arrest of the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias 'Sir John' for desecrating his office by engaging in galamsey activities.
We have ample evidence to prove that the very public officer into whose care the nation's forests have been entrusted is neck deep ravaging the bellies of some of the most virgin of forest reserves for gold, under the guise of 'reclamation'.
Our long-held stance has been vindicated by the chiefs of the Amansie Traditional Area in the Ashanti region who have openly accused Sir John and no mean a person than the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako alias 'Chairman Wontumi' of engaging in galamsey deep inside the Apampram Forest Reserve in the Amansie Central District.
The government's deafening silence over this matter weeks after the chiefs' public outburst, apart from being surprising also suggests to us that it is not committed to the fight against illegal mining as it wants the world to believe.
We wish to remind President Nana Akufo Addo that he has a personal pledge to keep; that he would cause to be investigated any of his appointees against whom allegations of corruption would be levelled.
We find the attitudes of Sir John and Wontumi not only deviant but also as corrupt, stinking and rotten to the core, that it calls for the swift and unhindered action by the investigative machinery of the state.
The two Deputy Chiefs of Staff, the Deputy Minister of Sports, the Board Chairman of the National Sports Authority, the former CEO of BOST and others were either investigated, suspended or sacked based on mere allegations, in a bid to demonstrate the President's discontentment with malfeasance by public officers; Mr President, why the loud silence now.
Even if President Akufo Addo has no regard for the complaints of Small Scale Miners, would he say he has no reverence for the chiefs of Amansie, whose people are some of the most avowed electorates of his largest constituency, the Ashanti region?
If President Akufo Addo and his government do not respect the votes he gained from Amansie which aided him to occupy his office today, would he also not respect the chiefs, the main custodians of the lands who feel they are been robbed of the riches of their inheritance by the two top NPP figures?
The CSSMUG wishes to entreat all Ghanaians to treat the government's so-called fight against galamsey with the impunity it deserves if Sir John and Chairman Wontumi are not arrested to make way for investigations into the allegations against them.
Fellow Ghanaians, we also wish to call for the dissolution of the Interministerial Taskforce against Galamsey and the disbandment of the Operation Vanguard since they have failed to show anything for the expenses on them, more than a year into their operations.
Finally, we wish to warn that, we will not hesitate to order all our members to go back to their various concessions to immediately start work since the failure of government to investigate Sir John and Wontumi would mean to us, a lack of commitment to the fight against galamsey it so touts.
Michael Kwadwo Peprah
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