The Media Coalition Against Galamsey (MCAG) is calling for the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecutions of Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, aka Chairman Wontumi, and his colleague Kwame Antwi for engaging in illegal mining in a forest reserve where they had no license to mine.
Chairman Wontumi and his colleague are directors of Akonta Mining Company Limited, which was recently stopped on the orders of Lands and Forestry Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor from continuing their mining activities in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in blatant violation of Section 99(6) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
In a statement, MCAG said “Arrest, investigate and prosecute everyone involved in the illegality including the Akonta Mining
Ltd and its Directors, Bernard Bosiako and Kwame Antwi, for illegally mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve as well as breaching Section 99(6) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) as amended by mining very close along the banks of Tano River.”
“‘Powerful’ people (like Chairman Wontumi) involved in Galamsey activities in the country should be exposed and sanctioned to serve as a deterrent,” the statement recommends.
In the statement, they also called on government to “Order all small-scale and surface mining activities to stop IMMEDIATELY to allow our water bodies and forests to begin to be restored and strategize a way to bring sanity to all surface mining activities in Ghana.”
The Coalition explained that it has become urgently necessary to halt all small-scale and surface mining activities because the evidence show that the state of Ghana’s water bodies have become worse between 2017, when the Coalition started its anti-Galamsey campaign, and now.
“…we are currently in a worse situation than when we started. For example, the annual average turbidity levels at the Daboase headworks on the Pra river has worsened from 1,180 in 2020, 2,588 in 2021 and 2,634 in 2022.”
MCAG argued that the current state of affairs is a clear indication of lack of leadership and commitment on the part of government and other stakeholders in the fight against illegal mining (galamsey).
“It is apparent that Government and other relevant stakeholders have not demonstrated enough commitment and leadership towards the fight against illegal mining activities in the country,” the statement said.
In view of that, MCAG said ministers and their deputies whose responsibility it is to regulate the mining sector, have failed Ghana [and] they must be sacked for disappointing present and unborn generations.
The Coalition also wants all DCEs and MCEs in whose areas of jurisdiction illegal mining has taken place and still continues, based on evidence on the ground, to be sacked.
MCAG is also urging government to rise up to the occasion and ensure the strict enforcement of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), as amended, without fear or
”Ensure that the above punitive measures are implemented before Farmer’s Day this year, as these activities directly impact adversely the efforts of our gallant farmers,” the statement said.
The Coalition also want government to explore the provision of gainful, alternative employment to persons currently engaged in Galamsey.
“The MCAG has studied the Galamsey phenomenon from all possible viewpoints and has concluded that there is and can be no conceivable justification for illegal mining to continue in Ghana,” the statement said.
MCAG is therefore calling on well-meaning Ghanaians, Civil Society Organizations to join hands with the media to help mount continued pressure on both Political and Traditional leaders to help save Ghana’s water bodies and preserve the environment for future generations.
”Losing this war is not an option. Irresponsible and unsustainable mining is an existential threat and should not be countenanced,” the statement said.