Galamsey: Wontumi degrading forests because he is an NPP chairman – Jinapor

Vote Out Mr John Abdulai Jinapor Ranking Member on Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee, John Abdulai Jinapor

Sat, 1 Oct 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Ranking Member on Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee, John Abdulai Jinapor, has accused the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Bernard Antwi Boasiako of acting with impunity.

According to Mr. Jinapor, Wontumi whose company was recently cited by the minister for lands and natural resources for engaging in illegal mining activities, is perpetrating such acts because his party is in power.

“Clearly, there is some blatant disregard for the law like some of my colleagues are saying, by some people who feel untouchable. Let’s face it, but for the fact that Wontumi is the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, could he have moved into a forest and start degrading it the way he is doing?” he questioned on Joynewsfile.

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor in a statement dated September directed the Forestry Commission to cease mining activities by Akonta Mining Company Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.

According to the minister, the company has no license or permit to undertake any mining activity in the forest.

But speaking on the minister's disclosure about the illegal activities of Wontumi’s company, Mr Jinapor charged the president to prove his commitment towards ending illegal mining activities which is threat to the nation’s water and forest bodies.

According to him, failure on the part of the government to prosecute Wontumi and his company will prove a clear lack of will on the part of the president to fight the menace of illegal mining.

“The president must demonstrate that he is indeed committed; this government must show commitment by dealing with their own people. If they go arresting the small ones, the small fishes while your own men are blatantly disregarding the law and moving into forest reserves and degrading the forest, you are sending the wrong signal.

“For me, this is the litmus test. There is evidence that what this company has done is illegal. They moved into the forest, degraded the forest without authority. So I expect that this government and their ministers would take this case on, prosecute them so that we know that government is indeed committed against illegal mining,” he stated.

Meanwhile, pressure group OccupyGhana has called for the prosecution of Akonta Mining Company, its directors and officers.

In a letter dated September 30, 2022, and addressed to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, OccupyGhana charged the minister to forward facts of the company’s illegal activities to the Attorney General and the police for action.

“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,” the group said.

According to OccupyGhana, the details of the company’s activities as shared in the minister’s statement calls for action beyond the directive to the Forestry Commission.

“You state that the basis for this directive is that the said company is undertaking the mining operations without a mining lease.

“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,” the group said.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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