Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has intimated that 45 persons are being prosecuted in relation to illegal mining in the country since the inception of the Operation Halt exercise.
According to Godfred Dame, who spoke Saturday, May 29 on JoyNews’ Newsfile, the suspects include 10 Chinese nationals. “There are 5 cases involving 45 persons, 10 of whom are Chinese nationals,” he said.
The comment comes as a response to comments by Senior Editor at 3FM, Dzifa Bampoh, on JoyNews’ Newfile that little achievement has been chalked in relation to the galamsey fight.
Dzifa Bampoh had contended that, though government has put in various measures to battle the canker, the number of arrests made in relation to the galamsey fight is a drop in the ocean.
But in response, the Attorney General, said government is on course in the fight against the menace.
He said “arrests are being made everyday. “
Recently, government adopted the burning of excavators as part of measures to deal with the canker. This is being executed by the Operation Halt task force which began operations in late April after being launched.
However, this mode of dealing with the canker has been highly criticised by members of the general public, including prominent lawyers who believe this is a breach of the laws of the state.
President Akufo-Addo at the sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of phase one of the Law Village Project of the Ghana School of Law, justified the burning of the excavators.
He said he disagreed with assertions by some Ghanaians that the ongoing exercise of ridding water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh.
But in response, a Private Legal Practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini, argued that there are clear laws set out to regulate the operations of small-scale miners as well as sanction those who violate such laws. It is, therefore, imperative that the laws are made to work.
Also, Convener for Media Coalition Against Galamsey, Ken Ashigbey, does not subscribe to the burning of the excavators.
Adding his voice to the conversation on Newsfile, he said “I don’t think the solution is burning the excavators. If there are situations where we cannot seize the equipment, there should be other ways of mobilising them such that those who are engaging in the canker cannot come back to use them.
He further argues that government must find ways of identifying the owners of the excavators, seize and prosecute them as well as find ways of cutting supply of the excavators.
“The problem is how we can cut supply of these excavators,” he said.
He added that “the excavators can be used for other purposes. We can also be able to trace these equipment back to people who have given them away for these illegal enterprises and deal with them according to the law.”
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