Some chiefs and political figures in the country have been cited in a report by the Bureau of National Investigations for involvement in illegal mining.
The 31-page report details districts in eight out of the 10 Regions of Ghana where galamsey is taking place.
The BNI report intercepted by Joy News said checks revealed the growing prevalence of illegal mining with its accompanying destruction of water bodies has been a source of worry for the citizens.
Politicians mentioned in the report:
National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Talensi in the Upper East Region, Benson Tongo Baba (B. T. Baba) has been mentioned as being behind galamsey activities in the area.
Talensi MP, Benson Tongo Baba
An alleged financier of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bunyak Kolog, popularly known in Talensi as ‘Polo’ is also said to be funding the activities of galamsey in the community.
The activities, the report said, are done with the tacit support of an official of the Precious Minerals Office at Bolgatanga. Together they are said to be sponsoring galamsey in Gbane, Blung and Datoku all in the Talensi district.
Chiefs alleged to be involved in galamsey:
The report said there is a perception among residents of Kibi that Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II is behind illegal mining activities in the area.
“It is further alleged that, the Okyenhene has constituted a taskforce, as part of its environomental foundation, who allegedly extort monies from illegal miners in the area.”
The BNI was forthright that the Birim River that serves several communities in the Eastern Region is under serious threat, due to illegal mining activities in the area.
Also, in the Ahanta West district in the Western Region, prominent chiefs in several towns and villages were found to be behind galamsey activities there.
An illegal miner caught in the Western Region
In Adieworsu, Jumako, Abura, Tontu and Mempeasem, some chiefs and their elders are said to be at the forefront of galamsey.
“Open pit galamsey activities are widespread in these areas,” the report remarked.
The story in Shama district in the same region is not different. Chief of Bokorkope, Nana Issah Muni is alleged to be involved in illegal mining activities in the area.
Lands Minister inspecting extent of damage caused water bodies
According to the report, the Bokorkope chief reportedly acquired a concession from the Minerals Commission and Shama district assembly under the pretext of winning sand but ended up mining on it.
Companies engaged in illegal mining:
Chief Executive Officer of Bupong Construction Limited in the Western Regional town of Twifo Praso, Prince John Baidoo has been cited in the report.
The BNI said he is engaging in alluvial and surface illegal mining in the Twifo Praso, Beposo, Sekyere-Krobo, Sekyere-Didiso, Basase and Sekyere-Nsuta.
Security personnel allegedly behind galamsey:
Some military and police personnel were also cited in the report. One Seargeant Amoakwa Boadu who is a police at Sefwi Wiawso is said to be engaged in galamsey at Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai with the support of others.
Foreign nationals in galamsey:
Also cited in the list are some Chinese nationals. In six communities in Bekwai district and Cocoase in Adansi South in the Ashanti Region, some Chinese were found to be mining there.
There were only two regions that the report said did not have cases of illegal mining activities. Checks conducted within the Volta and Greater Accra Regions revealed that there is no illegal mining there.
The BNI report comes at a time pressure continues to be mounted on the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government to clamp down on illegal mining that is responsible for the pollution of the country’s water bodies.
Ghana is losing its water bodies and forest reserves to galamsey activities. From the Western Region right to the Eastern Region water bodies that serve as the major source of drinking water for residents are being polluted by the day.
Since the start of the efforts to end the practice, some gains have been made. Available data at the Lands Ministry reveals a total of 500 excavators used by some illegal miners have been handed over to the government.
The Minerals Commission has also said there has been a reduction in the quantity of gold that is traded by natives.
But the BNI report said it has gathered there is growing dissatisfaction with government’s campaign to end galamsey.
“The directives given to illegal miners to stop mining activities within three weeks by John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources…received mixed reactions from…illegal miners, residents of communities affected by activities of miners and the public,” te report said.
It cited the claim by some youth in the Brong Ahafo Region that government’s directive is not a sustainable measure in combating the menace.
Apart from the backlash the Lands Ministry has suffered, the report said efforts to end the practice has received a widespread commendation. “The general public was also unanimous in condemning collusion and involvement of some chiefs, politicians and security personnel.”