The Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission is incensed over accusations he and the Ashanti Region Chair of the New Patriotic Party have turned a supposed land reclamation exercise into a galamsey mining adventure.
Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie insists the allegations being peddled by the Minority spokesperson on Energy Adam Mutawakilu are ill-informed.
Describing the MP as “lazy”, the former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party told Joy News’ Emefa Apawu all the allegations made by Mutawakilu are baseless.
The Minority spokesperson minced no words in accusing the Forestry Commission chair and the Ashanti Region chair of the NPP of engaging in galamsey mining.
“Just yesterday the Chief of Jokobo came out that Sir John and Wuntumi are engaged in illegal mining. Our own investigations indicate that the CEO of the forestry commission put up a post that this area is for reclamation. You go in there they in there doing illegal mining. Not reclaiming, he told Joy News' Joseph Opoku Gakpo.
“Soon we will come out with further details,” he said, adding “four people have come together to swindle the operation vanguard,” the taskforce formed to fight the canker of illegal mining.
He said there were excavators and other earth-moving equipment engaging in illegal mining in the area.
But Sir John has denied the claims.
He was surprised the MP made the allegations merely because excavators were seen on the reclamation site.
"Reclamation is not done with cutlasses, hoes and shovels" he jabbed, adding excavators were still needed to reclaim a land destroyed by galamsey.
“I deny emphatically that I am engaged in any illegal activity ie. galamsey,” he said
According to him contrary to claims that he was doing galamsey, his outfit is rather doing a good job of reclamation and has pictorial evidence to show for it.
According to him, he has sent journalists to the site to see for themselves what is going on the site so that they can be independent judges.
“It appears to me that this MP who spoke is taking his information from the internet and certainly not from an informed position. He has never been there. The forest they are talking about is not in Jakobo. It is a place called Kobro. He does not even know that as a matter of fact.
Photo Libray of a galamsey site
He said there is even no Jakobo chief, let alone to have him speak.
“He needs to be schooled. He needs to come and see so that I will take him. This is a lazy way of talking about these issues.
According to him, the company engaged in the reclamation is Unique Star and not the company owned by Chairman Wuntumi.
He wondered why anybody will accuse him and the NPP chairman of engaging in illegal mining.
Sir John stated that his outfit initially had companies engaging in reclamation but they had to terminate the contracts because after monitoring they realized most of them were engaging in illegal activities on the sites they were supposed to reclaim.
“As we speak no company has the permit to do any reclamation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the chair of the Ashanti Region NPP has issued a statement denying allegations
The statement said Bernard Antwi Boasiako is not directly or indirectly connected to any illegal mining and must not be drawn into any such allegations.