Re: Minister Directs Forestry Commission to Halt Akonta Mining Limited’s Operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve

30 September 2022

The Minister
Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
Accra

Attention: Samuel Abu Jinapor, MP

Re: Minister Directs Forestry Commission to Halt Akonta Mining Limited’s Operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve

Just two days ago, on 28 September 2022, we wrote an open letter to the President to ‘ensure that the law, namely the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), as amended, is enforced without fear and favour and irrespective of whose ox is gored.’ Today, we have seen a Press Release from your Ministry, stating that you have directed the Forestry Commission to halt the mining operations of a company called Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve. You state that the basis for this directive is that the said company is undertaking the mining operations without a mining lease (we have attached a copy of your Press Release to this letter, for ease of reference.)

While congratulating you on this step, we would be taken aback if that was all you did. If the company is engaged in the activities that you have alleged, then it is committing an offence that is punishable by fines and prison terms between 15 and 25 years. Specifically, section 99(2)(a) of Act 703 provides that:

‘A person who, without a licence granted by the Minister, undertakes a mining operation contrary to a provision of this Act, … commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than ten thousand penalty units and not more than fifteen thousand penalty units and to a term of imprisonment of not less than fifteen years and not more than twenty-five years.’

The company’s directors and officers would also be culpable because under section 107(1)(a) of Act 703,

‘Where an offence is committed under this Act or under Regulations made under this Act by a body of persons, in the case of a body corporate …, each director or an officer of the body shall also be considered to have committed the offence.’

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.

We are copying the Attorney-General, Inspector-General of Police, Minerals Commission, and Forestry Commission on this letter and demanding that they take immediate steps to enforce the law.

Yours in the service of God and Country

OccupyGhana

Attorney-General & Minister of Justice
Office of the Attorney-General & Ministry of Justice
Accra

The Inspector-General of Police
Police Headquarters
Accra

The Chief Executive
Minerals Commission
Accra

The Chief Executive
Forestry Commission
Accra

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OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO ON GALAMSEY

Accra, 28 September 2022

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO ON GALAMSEY

Mr President:

The main problem with unlicensed mining in Ghana (‘Galamsey’) and the increasing scourge it has become, is the Government’s sheer inability, total unpreparedness and/or blatant unwillingness to enforce the law. We are befuddled and dumbstruck at the Government’s absolute impotence, in the face of the brazen destruction of our lands and wanton poisoning of our water bodies.

Every law required to regulate the mining industry exists. Every Government agency required to enforce the law (namely the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission, the police, the courts and even the military) exists. Every district, municipality and metropolis in which Galamsey takes place has a fully-paid Chief Executive supported by an Authority and Assembly. There are chiefs in all of those towns and villages where the plunder happens. These people cannot feign ignorance and pretend to be innocent in this matter. What is going on defies reason and only gives support and credence to the popular rumour or belief that the very persons who should be fighting this crime, are rather those involved in and benefitting from it.

On 10 July 2017, the presidency.gov.gh website reported that you called the bluff of Galamsey operators and stated that you would put your presidency on the line for the Galamsey fight. You are reported to have added that ‘IT WILL BE A BETRAYAL OF THE TRUST IMPOSED ON ME IF I FAIL TO END THIS.’ Subsequently, you have repeated this pledge in various forms. However, your bold statements are ringing hollow and have petered out; you are failing and, in your own words, betraying the trust reposed in you. Sir, can you simply ensure that the law, namely the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), as amended, is enforced without fear and favour and irrespective of whose ox is gored?

For our part, we will send a reminder to you every Monday, until we see firm action to stamp this crime out. If that fails, we will shame your Government by going to court to compel the Government to sit up and do its job! That is not a threat, sir; it is a promise.

Yours in the service of God and Country,

OccupyGhana

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