Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

Government has begun prosecution of persons suspected to have engaged in illegal mining activities otherwise known as “galamsey” in the country.

Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who disclosed this at government’s press briefing on illegal mining in Accra on Wednesday, said so far, there are five separate cases facing different levels of state prosecution in court.

He said these cases are not exhaustive, and the Attorney General’s office is readying documents for more state-level prosecution of persons who have flouted the country’s mining laws.

However, providing details on the ongoing court cases, the Minister said “the first is the Republic versus George Asante and 31 others.

“In this case, the earlier report came out because some National Security operatives have been arrested engaging in illegal mining elsewhere. It turns out that these persons are not National Security operatives.

“The accused persons on May 11, 2021, were arraigned before the Koforidua Circuit Court B on provisional charges namely two counts of conspiracy to commit crime that is reconnaissance for mines minerals and reconnaissance for mines minerals without lawful authority. The accused persons were arrested by the town folks, if you remember,” he added.

The second case, the Minister said, is the Republic versus Yang Maoji, a Chinese national arrested for mining illegally in the Pra River. He was arrested by the Operation Halt team whiles on routine patrol.

The third is the Republic versus Wei Gan and another. This case involves two Chinese nationals arrested in Atieku near Tarkwa in the Amenfi West district.

Another case before the court, he said, is the Republic versus Xue Linhua and two others. This case involves two Chinese nationals and a Ghanaian who were illegally mining in forest reserves. These illegal miners were arrested in Enchie in the Western Region and are facing prosecution.

The last case, Mr. Nkrumah said is the Republic versus Xue Linhua and 5 others. This case involves 6 Chinese nationals who were arrested in Asankragua by National Security operatives.

They have been arraigned before the Kaneshie District Court on provisional charges, including six counts of possession of firearms without lawful excuse.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has begun Phase 4 of its Operation Halt II that focuses on removing all persons and logistics involved in mining from the Ankobra River, its tributaries and forest reserves.

Providing updates on the operation, Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul said government has deployed 401 men of all ranks from the GAF and other sister security apparatus to rid the country’s forest reserves and water bodies of illegal mining activities.