1
Opinions Wed, 19 Oct 2016

Could Ghana's illegal gold miners evolve into Allies of Global Terrorist Organisations?

By Kofi Thompson

There is no question that illegal gold miners are a real threat to

national security in our homeland Ghana. Ditto illegal loggers and

illegal sand-winners.

That is why the wealthy criminal syndicates that sponsor the

activities of illegal gold miners - as well as illegal loggers and

illegal sand-winners - across the country, need to be monitored

closely, by the leaderships of all the security agencies.

For example, if it is not checked, the pollution of the drinking-water

sources of so many economically vulnerable communities, across vast

swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, by illegal gold miners, could

create humanitarian crises all over rural Ghana.

That is a potentially dangerous situation, which will doubtless not

bode well for the long-term stability of our nation - as it will

directly affect the quality of life of millions of our people.

Has the time not therefore come for all the political parties in

Ghana, and members of our political class (from across the spectrum),

to focus on the protection and preservation of what is left of our

nation's natural heritage - particularly at a time when global climate

change is negatively impacting Ghana and the rest of the nations in

the African continent?

The worst aspect of illegal gold mining, in Ghana, today, is that

most of it is sponsored by super-wealthy criminals, who have become

emboldened because they have errant members of the security agencies,

dishonest officials from the regulatory bodies (both at district and

national levels) and rogue politicians, all on their

off-ledger-payrolls.

Is that not dangerous for the long-term stability of our homeland

Ghana, I ask? Every Ghanaian who cares about the well-being of this

nation, and all its people - including present and future generations

- must stand up against the rich criminals behind illegal gold

mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, across Ghana.

We all need to clearly understand that the wealthy criminals profiting

from unlawful and environmentally destructive activities such as

illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, could

eventually undermine Ghana's stability - if they are not dealt with

effectively today.

In light of that latent threat they pose to Ghana's long-term

stability, our ruling elites need to learn valuable lessons from the

civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, before the situation here gets

out of hand too.

They must always remember that it was the rape of natural resources,

such as diamonds and timber, by callous people driven by unfathomable

greed, which fueled the brutal civil wars in those two sister West

African nations of ours, for so many years.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing up-close, illegal gold

miners destroying forestland that has evolved over millions of years,

which provide valuable ecosystem services for many communities across

the nation, will not hesitate to condemn the present regulatory

system that grants permits to small-scale gold miners.

How can so-called small-scale gold miners, be permitted to deploy

32-tonne excavators - which on the ground allow them to mine on an

industrial scale - and still be expected to follow the rules and stick

to mining just 25 acres, once they obtain permits from regulators?

Amazing.

Clearly, that is not realistic: Not when they simply bribe officials

sent to monitor their activities at mining sites, when concerned

opinion leaders in affected rural communities lodge official

complaints against illegal gold miners at district police commands,

and petition officials at district-level offices of the regulatory

bodies, as and when infractions of the Mining Act occur.

A case study that illustrates the point made above, perfectly,

reveals the myraid of egregious infractions of the Mining Act by

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Hagnela Mining Company Limited, and its super-ruthless assigns, at

Akyem Juaso.

There, private freehold heavily-wooded forestland - which has not

been given out officialy as a gold concession by the Minerals

Commission and happens to be far away from the area officially

designated a concession for small-scale gold miners - is being

unlawfully destroyed with total impunity.

The criminals destroying that incredibly beautiful forestland, boast

openly, that no one in Ghana can stop them - because they are prepared

to bribe every official sent to stop them from mining gold in what is

part of my family's freehold 14 square mile forestland, which they

apparently claim to have paid my cousin, Kwame Thompson, and our

former overseer, John Awuku (aka "Red"), to mine gold on.

What escapes those greedy fools, and all those they claim to have paid

bribes to, is that the GPS coordinates of the area in question,

exposes them, and points to the fact that the documents they have been

bandying about and deceiving officialdom with, are all fake ones.

Furtheremore, the Anyiman District Police Command ought to know - if

it does not already know it - that no private landowner is allowed to

give out his or her land to third parties to mine gold on in this

country: as that power only lies with the Minerals Commission.

Consequently, the mere fact that the dishonest Kwame Thompson has a

stake as a beneficiary in what is actually still legally part of the

estate of the late P. E. Thompson, to which he does not have

individual title to, cannot, and should not be used as an excuse by

the Ghana Police Service not to arrest and prosecute him, Red, Rasta

of Hagnela Mining Company, and his arrogant assigns.

In the meantime, as officialdom drags its feet, the brutal gang-rape

of what is part of a designated Globally Significant Biodiversity Area

(GDBA), which has been owned by my family as a registered freehold

forestland in the name of P. E. Thompson, since 1921, from the British

colonial era, goes on with impunity. Incredible.

That abomination - made possible by the thoroughly dishonest Kwame

Thompson and John Awuku "Red," who I gather have apparently taken

money from the CEO of Hagnella Mining Company Limited, and that

company's assigns - is simply intolerable.

How can such lawlessness be allowed in a democratic nation in which

the rule of law is said to prevail? What green investor will invest in

a society in which rich criminals can get away with destroying

forestland they want to turn into ecotourism destinations to give

local people sustainable futures?

Incredibly, as we speak, I have actually petitioned the head of the

BNI, the Director General of the CID, the Minister for Lands and

Natural Resources, and the head of the Minerals Commisson - all of

whom have dutifully sent investigators to the area in question.

Readers can better appreciate the magnitude of the travesty going on

there, by looking at photographs of the area in question, if they

google and visit the "Akyem Juaso Nature-Resource Reserve Facebook

page".

Unfortunately, it has not yet dawned on any of those officials sent to

investigate the infractions of the Mining Act - despite my

protestations - that on the ground, in the real world, the said

illegalities are actually occuring outside the officially designated

area, allotted (and indicated on the Minerals Commission's cadestral

map) to small-scale gold miners as a concession. But I digress.

The fact of the matter, is that their utter ruthlessness, total

disregard for the laws of Ghana, and willingness to bribe public

officials sent to stop their activities, have combined to make the

wealthy criminal syndicates behind most of the illegal gold mining

that goes on in this country, a law unto themselves. Literally.

Yet, potentially, they could become allies of global terrorist

organisations - which, as we are all aware, are always on the lookout

ADVERTISEMENT

for new sources of funds: to enable them extend their global

footprint.

If our nation's political class understood that illegal gold miners

could easily evolve into allies of global terrorist organisations,

perhaps they would take the security threat illegal gold miners pose

to our nation, far more seriously, than they currently do.

Above all, instead of throwing up their arms in despair, over their

continued inability to stop those behind illegal gold mining in our

country, the authorities should rather collaborate with local

environmental activists, to stop all those in their communities who

engage in illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal

sand-winning.

For the sake of future generations of our people, illegal gold mining

needs to be tackled effectively now - lest we end up with a situation

in which global terrorist groups co-opt the criminal syndicates behind

most of the illegal gold mining in Ghana: to enable them generate cash

to fund terrorism across West Africa.

If current trends continue, this blog confidently predicts that the

takeover of illegal gold mining in Ghana by terrorist organisations,

will come to pass in the not too distant future, as sure as day

follows night.

Those in charge of the regulatory bodies overseeing gold mining in

Ghana must sit up: today society may be contending with foreigners

driven merely by unfathomable greed. But tomorrow those foreigners

weill ve determined terrorists with an agenda of their own.

What ought to dawn on officialdom is that the wealthy criminals behind

most of the illegal gold mining in Ghana, today, who get away with

defying officials on the ground, in illegal gold mining sites across

the Ghanaian countryside, could actually evolve into local allies of

global terrorist groups.

Surely, all the relevant mining sector public officials who regulate

mining in Ghana, have a moral obligation not to allow that to ever

happen? Hmm, Ghana eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

:

llies Of Global Terrorist Organisations?

By Kofi Thompson

There is no question that illegal gold miners are a real threat to

national security in our homeland Ghana. Ditto illegal loggers and

illegal sand-winners.

That is why the wealthy criminal syndicates that sponsor the

activities of illegal gold miners - as well as illegal loggers and

illegal sand-winners - across the country, need to be monitored

closely, by the leaderships of all the security agencies.

For example, if it is not checked, the pollution of the drinking-water

sources of so many economically vulnerable communities, across vast

swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, could potentially create

humanitarian crises all over rural Ghana.

That is a potentially dangerous situation, which will doubtless not

bode well, for the long-term stability of our nation - as it will

directly affect the quality of life of millions of our people.

Has the time not therefore come for all the political parties in

Ghana, and members of our political class, from across the spectrum,

to focus on the protection and preservation, of what is left of our

nation's natural heritage - particularly at a time when global climate

change is negatively impacting Ghana and the rest of the nations in

the African continent?

The worst aspect of illegal gold mining in Ghana, today, is that most

of it is sponsored by super-wealthy criminals, who have become

emboldened, because they have errant members of the security agencies,

dishonest officials from the regulatory bodies (both at district and

national levels) and rogue politicians, all on their

off-ledger-payrolls.

ADVERTISEMENT

Is that not dangerous for the long-term stability of our homeland

Ghana, I ask? Every Ghanaian who cares about the well-being of this

nation, and all its people - including this and future generations -

must stand up against the rich criminals behind illegal gold mining,

illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, across Ghana.

We all need to clearly understand that the wealthy criminals profiting

from unlawful and environmentally destructive activities such as

illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, could

eventually undermine Ghana's stability - if they are not dealt with

effectively today.

In light of that latent threat they pose to Ghana's long-term

stability, our ruling elites need to learn valuable lessons from the

civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, before the situation here gets

out of hand too.

They must always remember that it was the rape of natural resources

such as diamonds and timber, by callous people driven by unfathomable

greed, which fueled the brutal civil wars in those two sister West

African nations of ours for so many years.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing up-close, illegal gold

miners destroying forestland that has evolved over millions of years,

which provides valuable ecosystem services for millions across the

nation, will not hesitate to condemn the present regulatory system

that grants permits to small-scale gold miners.

How can so-called small-scale gold miners, permitted to deploy even

32-tonne excavators - which on the ground allow them to mine on an

industrial scale - be expected to follow the rules and stick to mining

just 25 acres, once they obtain permits from regulators? Amazing.

Clearly, that is not realistic: Not when they simply bribe officials

sent to monitor their activities at mining sites, when concerned

opinion leaders in affected rural communities lodge official

complaints against illegal gold miners, at district police commands

and petition district-level offices of the regulatory bodies, as and

when infractions of the Mining Act occur.

A case study that illustrates that point made above perfectly, are

the myraid of egregious infractions of the Mining Act, by Hagnela

Mining Company Limited, and its super-ruthless assigns, at Akyem

Juaso.

There, private freehold heavily-wooded forestland - which has not

been given out officialy as a gold concession by the Minerals

Commission and happens to be far away from an area officially

designated a concession for small-scale gold miners - is being

unlawfully destroyed with total impunity.

The criminals destroying that incredibly beautiful forestland, boast

openly, that no one in Ghana can stop them - because they are prepared

to bribe every official sent to stop them from mining gold in what is

part of my family's freehold 14 square mile forestland, which they

apparently claim to have paid my cousin, Kwame Thompson, and our

former overseer, John Awuku (aka "Red"), to mine gold on.

What escapes those greedy fools, and all those they claim to have paid

bribes to, is that the GPS coordinates of the area in question,

exposes them, and points to the fact that the documents they have been

bandying about and deceiving officialdom with are all fake ones.

Furtheremore, the Anyiman District Police Command ought to know - if

it does not already know it - that no private landowner is allowed to

give out his or her land to third parties to mine gold on in this

country: as that power only lies with the Minerals Commission.

Therefore the fact that the dishonest Kwame Thompson has a stake as a

beneficiary in what is actually still legally part of the estate of

the late P. E. Thompson, to which he does not have individual title

to, cannot, and should not be used as an excuse by the Ghana Police

Service not to arrest and prosecute him, Red, Rasta of Hagnela Mining

Company, and his arrogant assigns.

In the meantime, as officialdom drags its feet, the brutal gang-rape

of what is part of a designated Globally Significant Biodiversity Area

(GDBA), which has been owned by my family as a registered freehold

forestland in the name of P. E. Thompson, since 1921, from the British

colonial era, goes on with impunity. Incredible.

That abomination - made possible by the thoroughly dishonest Kwame

Thompson and John Awuku "Red," who I gather have apparently taken

money from the CEO of Hagnella Mining Company Limited, and that

company's assigns - is simply intolerable.

How can such lawlessness be allowed in a democratic nation in which

the rule of law is said to prevail?

Yet, as we speak, I have actually petitioned the head of the BNI, the

Director General of the CID, the Minister for Lands and Natural

Resources, and the head of the Minerals Commisson - all of whom have

dutifully sent investigators to the area in question.

Readers can better appreciate the magnitude of the travesty going on

there, by looking at photographs of the area in question, if they

google and visit the "Akyem Juaso Nature-Resource Reserve Facebook

page".

Unfortunately, it has not yet dawned on any of those officials sent to

investigate the infractions of the Mining Act - despite my

protestations - that on the ground, in the real world, the said

illegalities are actually occuring outside the officially designated

area, allotted on the Minerals Commission's cadestral map, to

small-scale gold miners as a concession. But I digress.

The fact of the matter, is that their utter ruthlessness, total

disregard for the laws of Ghana, and willingness to bribe public

officials sent to stop their activities, have combined to make the

wealthy criminal syndicates behind most of the illegal gold mining

that goes on in this country, a law unto themselves. Literally.

Yet, potentially, they could become allies of global terrorist

organisations - which, as we are all aware, are always on the lookout

for new sources of funds: to enable them extend their global

footprint.

If our nation's political class understood that illegal gold miners

could easily evolve into allies of global terrorist organisations,

perhaps they would take the security threat illegal gold miners pose

to our nation, far more seriously, than they currently do.

Above all, instead of throwing up their arms in despair, over their

continued inability to stop those behind illegal gold mining in our

country, the authorities should rather collaborate with local

environmental activists, to stop all those in their communities who

engage in illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal

sand-winning.

For the sake of future generations of our people, illegal gold mining

needs to be tackled effectively now - lest we end up with a situation

in which global terrorist groups co-opt the criminal syndicates behind

most of the illegal gold mining in Ghana: to enable them generate cash

to fund terrorism across West Africa.

If current trends continue, this blog confidently predicts that the

takeover of illegal gold mining in Ghana by terrorist organisations,

will come to pass in the not too distant future, as sure as day

follows night.

Those in charge of the regulatory bodies overseeing gold mining in

Ghana must sit up: the wealthy criminals behind most of the illegal

gold mining in Ghana, who get away with defying officials on the

ground, in illegal gold mining sites across Ghana, could actually

evolve into local allies of global terrorist groups.

Surely, they have a moral obligation, not to allow that to ever

happen? Hmm, Ghana eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi