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Galamsey: Go beyond stop order, arrest directors, officers of Wontumi’s Akonta Mining Limited – OG to Jinapor

Samuel Abu Jinapor Damongo MP.png Land and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Jinapor

Sat, 1 Oct 2022 Source: classfmonline.com

The directors and officers of Akonta Mining Limited, which has been ordered to stop all mining activities within the Tano Nimiri forest reserve, must be arrested for breaching Act 703, pressure group, OccupyGhana has told Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Samuel Abu Jinapor, who recently issued the stop order.

Akonta Mining Limited belongs to the Ashanti regional chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako, popularly known as Wontumi.

The ministry said in a statement issued on Friday, 30 September 2022 that it has taken note of “publications about certain operations by Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri forest reserve in the Amenfi West municipality in the Western Region”.

It said even though Akonta Mining Limited has a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, “the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve”.

Mr Jinapor, according to the statement, has, thus, Forestry Commission to, “forthwith, ensure that the company does not carry out any operation in the Forest and to take the necessary action against any person found culpable in this matter”.

The statement said: “Our records show that Akonta Mining Ltd, on August 25, 2022, applied for a mining lease to undertake mining operations in the said forest reserve. By a ministerial directive, all reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploratory activities in forest reserves in the country are suspended, except in exceptional circumstances”.

“Although this directive does not affect mining in forest reserves, Akonta Mining Limited’s application has not been determined. Accordingly, any alleged activity being undertaken by the company in the forest reserve is illegal”, the statement noted.

In OccupyGhana’s view, however, the ministry and state authorities must go beyond the stop order.

“If the company is engaged in the activities that you have alleged, then it is committing an offence that is punishable by fines and prison terms between 15 and 25 years. Specifically, section 99(2)(a) of Act 703 provides that: ‘A person who, without a licence granted by the Minister, undertakes a mining operation contrary to a provision of this Act, … commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than ten thousand penalty units and not more than fifteen thousand penalty units and to a term of imprisonment of not less than fifteen years and not more than twenty-five years’”, the group said.

It noted: “The company’s directors and officers would also be culpable because under section 107(1)(a) of Act 703, ‘Where an offence is committed under this Act or under Regulations made under this Act by a body of persons, in the case of a body corporate …, each director or an officer of the body shall also be considered to have committed the offence’”.

“We, therefore, demand that you forthwith refer the facts and evidence in your possession that show that the said mining company is undertaking mining operations in breach of the Act, to the police and the Attorney General for further investigations and prosecution of the company and its directors and officers”.

Read OccupyGhana’s full statement below:

Re: Minister Directs Forestry Commission to Halt Akonta Mining Limited’s Operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve

Just two days ago, on 28 September 2022, we wrote an open letter to the President to ‘ensure that the law, namely the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), as amended, is enforced without fear and favour and irrespective of whose ox is gored.’

Today, we have seen a press release from your ministry, stating that you have directed the Forestry Commission to halt the mining operations of a company called Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.

You state that the basis for this directive is that the said company is undertaking the mining operations without a mining lease (we have attached a copy of your press release to this letter, for ease of reference.)

While congratulating you on this step, we would be taken aback if that was all you did.

If the company is engaged in the activities that you have alleged, then it is committing an offence that is punishable by fines and prison terms between 15 and 25 years. Specifically, section 99(2)(a) of Act 703 provides that: ‘A person who, without a licence granted by the Minister, undertakes a mining operation contrary to a provision of this Act, … commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than ten thousand penalty units and not more than fifteen thousand penalty units and to a term of imprisonment of not less than fifteen years and not more than twenty-five years.’

The company’s directors and officers would also be culpable because under section 107(1)(a) of Act 703, ‘Where an offence is committed under this Act or under Regulations made under this Act by a body of persons, in the case of a body corporate …, each director or an officer of the body shall also be considered to have committed the offence.’

We, therefore, demand that you forthwith refer the facts and evidence in your possession that show that the said mining company is undertaking mining operations in breach of the Act, to the police and the Attorney General for further investigations and prosecution of the company and its directors and officers.

We are copying the Attorney General, Inspector-General of Police, Minerals Commission, and Forestry Commission on this letter and demanding that they take immediate steps to enforce the law.

Yours in the service of God and Country

OccupyGhana

Attorney-General & Minister of Justice

Office of the Attorney-General & Ministry of Justice

Accra

The Inspector-General of Police

Police Headquarters

Accra

The Chief Executive

Minerals Commission

Accra

The Chief Executive

Forestry Commission

Accra

All Media Houses

Source: classfmonline.com
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