Ranking Member on Parliament's Energy Committee, John Jinapor

The Deputy Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, John Jinapor, has called on the government to show commitment to the fight against illegal mining by prosecuting bigwigs involved in the activities.

According to him, there is evidence to prove that some people in the governing NPP are involved in galamsey which is degrading lands and water bodies in the country.

Speaking on Newsfile, John Jinapor said that “if they go arresting the small fishes while their men are blatantly disregarding the law and moving into forest reserves and degrading the forest, they’re sending the wrong signal.“

“The only way to deal with it is for the President to show leadership, by going after his people. There is ample evidence to suggest and to confirm that some top hierarchy within the NPP are engaged in this illegal activity,” he added.

Using Akonta Mining Limited as an example, the ranking member questioned how the company owned by NPP’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Wontumi obtained a prospecting license that expires in 2035.

“The law says that you can’t renew a license beyond three years and when you do, it says that the land size ought to be reduced going forward. So, how come Wontumi is able to acquire a prospecting license that expires in 2035? There are a lot of them out there,” Mr Jinapor said.

In the Akonta Mining Limited case, he stated that the mining firm breached the laws when it moved its activities into the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Amenfi West Municipality in the Western Region.

“So clearly there is some blatant disregard for the law by some people who feel untouchable,” he added.

Mr Jinapor charged the government to demonstrate their commitment to dealing with the menace of illegal mining.

“The President himself said he is putting his job on the line, nobody compelled him, the result so far has been very appalling for me, the President  hasn’t achieved anything significant.”

Meanwhile, the Lands Ministry has directed Akonta Mining Limited to stop operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest.

In a statement issued on September 30, the Ministry said even though Akonta Mining Limited has a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, outside the Forest Reserve, “the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve”.

The statement said the sector minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has therefore directed the Forestry Ministry to, “forthwith, ensure that the company does not carry out any operation in the Forest and to take the necessary action against any person found culpable in this matter”.

The directive came after two persons sustained gunshot wounds at the Akonta Mining firm in Samreboi in the Western Region.

This happened after a section of the youth reportedly prevented personnel of Akonta Mining Limited from sending more mining equipment into the Tano Nimri Forest reserve on Thursday.

The company is said to have been mining in the reserve despite a declaration by the government that it has not granted any entry permit into the forest reserve.

But, OccupyGhana is asking the Lands Ministry to go a step beyond merely directing Akonta Mining Limited to halt operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest in the Western Region.

According to the pressure group, the ministry must invite the security agencies and the Attorney General into the fray by furnishing them with the information needed to ensure that perpetrators are punished.

“We therefore demand that you forthwith refer the facts and evidence in your possession that show that the said mining company is undertaking mining operations in breach of the Act, to the police and the Attorney-General for further investigations and prosecution of the company and its directors and officers.”

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.