Spokesperson to Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has parried allegations that President Nana Akufo-Addo’s fight against illegal mining has been a failure.

Dr Gideon Boako has described illegal mining in Ghana – also known as galamsey – as a national challenge, noting that instead of the criticisms, the Presidency-led effort to stamp out the menace must be commended.

“Before this fight started, previous governments had made attempts but to no avail and mining has been with us for a long time and we cannot say as a country that we will also not allow people to mine. But of course, we need to manage the negative externalities that is associated with the mining,” he said on Joy FM/MultiTV’s current affairs programme, Newsfile.

According to him, the President remains committed to the fight against the galamsey menace despite the challenges.

“Of course during the fight on galamsey, a lot of policy measures were taken, including the activities of the Inter-Ministerial Mining Committee and we wouldn’t say it has been a total failure because along the line, we saw pictures and videos that, more or less, show that our [contaminated water bodies] were turning clearer,” Dr Boako defended.

Dr Boako’s defence comes in the wake of assertions that President Akufo-Addo has failed the fight against illegal mining, contrary to his promise to Ghanaians.

These assertions also follow reports that confiscated excavators and other equipment being used by illegal miners have gone missing.

But the economist said the case of the discourse around the missing excavators should be approached cautiously.

“An excavator is not like a pen; it is a machine of substantial size and the movement of it thereof cannot just be something that can be done clandestinely without anybody noticing,” he said.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s Central Region Vice Chair, Horace Ekow Ewusi, was recently picked up by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) over his alleged role in the missing excavators and other equipment seized from illegal mining operators.

His arrest follows a request made by the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Professor Frimpong Boateng to the police.

Six other persons have been arrested and being investigated by the CID following a complaint lodged by the same Minister — who is also the chairman of the anti-galamsey taskforce set up by the President.

Last year, a Secretary to the taskforce, Charles Bissue, was captured in a video allegedly taking monies to help an unlicensed company to circumvent laid down processes to be given clearance for its mining operations.

These outcomes have caused some, particularly members of the Minority in Parliament and members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to suggest that the Presidency-led fight on galamsey is sham because most of the culprits have affiliations with the governing party or government.