Our Ref: OG/2022/038

Accra, 3 October 2022

Mr President:


In our open letter to you dated 28 September 2022, we promised to send you a Galamsey Reminder every Monday morning until your government takes drastic steps to control the situation. This is the first Reminder.

We are convinced that the unprecedented and rampant scale of unregulated and illegal mining has reached a stage where under article 31(9) of the Constitution, it constitutes a

‘situation in which any action is taken or is immediately threatened to be taken by any person or body of persons which—
(a) is calculated or likely to deprive the community of the essentials of life; or
(b) renders necessary the taking of measures which are required for securing the public safety, the defence of Ghana and the maintenance of public order and of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.’

We risk losing our very essence as a nation unless immediate and radical action is taken, first to STOP all unregulated and illegal mining, and then put a process in place to REGULATE artisanal mining, going forward.

We therefore request that you take immediate steps towards declaring a state of emergency in every mining area in Ghana. In accordance with article 31(1) of the Constitution, these steps would be, first, seeking and obtaining the advice of the Council of State and, second, publishing a Proclamation of the declaration in the Gazette.

Thereafter we expect Parliament to be recalled from its vacation, for the government to place before it ‘the facts and circumstances leading to the declaration of the state of emergency’ under article 31(2). Considering the gravity of the situation, we fully expect Parliament to agree with the government and provide that the state of emergency should remain for such period as Parliament may determine, so that the government can get a grasp of the situation.

For our part, we have, and are willing to offer, suggestions and proposals on how to establish a properly regulated artisanal mining industry in Ghana that would benefit the wider interest of all Ghanaians.

Yours in the service of God and Country


cc.​ All Media Houses


Accra, 28 September 2022


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 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,


cc. All Media Houses


27TH MAY 2021



We have grave reservations over comments reportedly made by the President while delivering the keynote speech at the sod-cutting ceremony to mark the commencement of the construction of new premises for the Ghana School of Law on 26 May 2021. For such an auspicious and august event, the words of the President are likely to be immortalised and generations of law students will be referred to that speech. However, we are unable to agree with the headlining of that speech with an endorsement of the palpable illegality and obvious breach of the rule of law by government’s current ‘burn-on-sight’ punishment exacted on alleged illegal miners. We are also unable to agree with the President’s dismissive challenge to well-meaning law-abiding Ghanaians who have pointed that illegality and breach out, to go to court.

The President knows that he is wrong, and that Ghana law on ‘tainted property’ (which is what the excavators are) does not authorise the government’s ‘burn-on-sight’ policy. In each of the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act (as amended), the 2010 EOCO Act, the 2017 Office of the Special Prosecutor Act and the 2020 Narcotics Control Commission Act, special provisions are made on how ‘tainted property’ (defined to include property that is used to commit a crime) may be seized and then confiscated to the state by court orders. The current ‘burn-on-sight’ policy would mean that all of those properties could be set on fire on sight, a clear breach of the relevant laws. No one needs a court to say that to Ghanaians. We know it. The President knows it. We challenge the President to follow the law.

For the records, we as OccupyGhana® started to campaign against illegal mining, as far back as 2015. After the President’s election, we were impressed when he called the bluff of galamsey operators and declared that he was prepared to stake his presidency on ensuring that the law was applied and complied with. On 5 March 2017, we issued a press statement with an unqualified endorsement of the President’s statements and actions at the time.

However, we were soon to be disappointed. When Aisha Huang was first arrested, government operatives schemed to charge her with some risibly minor Immigration offences that would have attracted ridiculously low fines, in Case No CR 344/2017 dated 8 May 2017. When we were alerted about this, we immediately petitioned the then Attorney-General on 16 May 2017, protesting the ridiculous charges and demanding that the proper mining offences be laid.

We were gratified when the Attorney-General then amended the offending and offensive charge sheet and duly charged Ms Huang with the appropriate mining offences, which could have sent her to jail. What we did not know at the time was that the government had absolutely no appetite or interest in putting her on trial, and that it had all been a façade. It turned out that our petition and the filing of the proper charges would rather trigger the government spiriting her away from justice in Ghana to freedom in her native China under a dubious nolle prosequi filed by the same Attorney-General who we had forced to file the proper charges.

Some two years after Ghanaians had started and continued protesting this decision, the then Senior Minister in April 2019, let the cat out of the bag and provided the shocking justification that has been an open secret till then: that the government had been compelled to let her go to maintain a good relationship with China, manifested in the Sinohydro project, which he claimed, was going to help process bauxite and provide $2B to Ghana. He added “there are other things behind the scenes. Putting that lady (Aisha) in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your economic problems. It is not going to make you happy or me happy, that’s not important.”

We responded with a press release dated 23 April 2019, and we did not mince any words in expressing our dismay, saying that “this statement suggests that, at the right price tag, foreigners implicated in the appalling desecration of Ghana’s environment, rivers and laws can be exonerated. It positions foreigners who break/flout our laws as untouchable and above the law because their countries offer economic partnerships and benefits. It sacrifices the enforcement of our laws and the safeguarding of our environmental resources on the cheap altar of present gain.” We demanded an apology, and of course, none was offered to Ghanaians.

Subsequently, the President himself was to do a ‘mea culpa’ at an event held at Princeton University on 20 September 2019, confessing to the wrongness of the decision. The President said “I think it was a mistake and the response to that has been the amendment of the law that has now stiffened and enhanced the sanctions for people, both Ghanaians and foreigners who are engaged.”

In our press release dated 23 September 2019 we excoriated the President and hoped that that would be the end of illegal acts by the government on this matter. We said: “We appreciate the President’s candour in admitting this mistake. We agree with him that that decision was a mistake, a grave and regrettable one. What we are concerned with is that it had to take hindsight, an understating of the situation only after it had happened and almost two years after the fact, for the Government to realise how bad a mistake that was. Ghanaians knew right from the start that it was a mistake and said so to the Government, which ignored us, making this regret very little and very late.”

It is interesting that the “amendment of the law,” which the President touted then as the answer, having “stiffened and enhanced…sanctions,” is the 2019 amendment to the Minerals and Mining Act, that the government is now happy to breach, and then challenge others to go to court over. We did not believe the President then, and said to him that “while the legislative amendment that enhances the punishment regime for mining-related offences might deter some from engaging in Galamsey, we do not see how that, in and of itself, will prevent the repetition of the government’s mistake. That is because the mistake, the decision to free Aisha Huang without trial, had nothing to do with the law as it existed at the time.” We are unhappy that the President has proven us right in being cynical about his willingness to follow even the law he touted at the time.

We have always maintained that the fight against illegal mining can only be fought with the law and not by illegal government action. The law on how to deal with this matter of illegal mining was clearly set out in the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act. In 2015, the John Mahama-led government, unhappy with the crime and punishment regime under that Act, rightly caused that regime to be enhanced by an amendment that received presidential assent on 16 December 2015. The current government, also unhappy with even that enhancement, rightly followed suit and led parliament to pass another amendment in 2019, which the President assented to on 19 August 2019. Basically, Parliament has given to this government the strongest anti-illegal mining legislation in the nation’s history, and the President touted this as the answer, although we did not believe him.

The President is aware that the 2019 amendment and that of his predecessor were required because under article 19 (11) of the Constitution, the government has no power to punish anyone for any offence unless and until that offence is, firstly, defined, and secondly and more importantly, the punishment for it is also prescribed under written law. The 2019 amendment that this government led, passed, assented to and touted, does just that. It defines the specific offences and prescribes both the punishment and procedure for exacting that punishment. The President knows that nowhere in that law, is the current ‘burn-on-sight’ punishment prescribed, which makes it extra-legal, extra-judicial and consequently unconstitutional.

The President knows that he is wrong, and that no interpretation of the clear language of his government’s own 2019 amendment supports the current ‘burn-on-sight’ policy. And that is why we find the President’s ‘go to court’ challenge unfortunate. It is a bet on the factor of time and expense that ordinary Ghanaians would have to spend in fighting in court, to allow the government perpetrate this palpable illegality and grave unconstitutionality.

We do not believe that it is impossible to locate, arrest and prosecute the owners of the excavators and ‘chanfangs’. These equipment and machinery were imported into Ghana through the harbours. The entire importation system in Ghana is, thankfully, fully computerised. Thus, the chassis numbers and other identification details of these equipment and machinery used for illegal mining are or should be in the databases of either or both of GHAPOHA and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Further, the excavators could not have been moved to destinations throughout Ghana without licensing at the now highly computerised DVLA.

Therefore, we believe that government can easily ascertain ownership of the equipment from these government bodies, arrest and prosecute the owners, and then obtain the requisite confiscatory orders from the court.

Further, since the 2019 amendment requires prosecution and conviction before confiscation, which now appears to be a problem when the equipment is abandoned, the government must simply send a bill to parliament under a certificate of urgency to amend the law, so that the court will be empowered to make the confiscatory order when the equipment and machinery are abandoned in a mining area and no one has shown up to claim them within a specified time.

The President should not challenge Ghanaians to go to court. We rather challenge him to follow the law, and respect the principles of constitutionalism and rule of law, which remain the cornerstones of our democracy. We challenge the President to stop the “burn-on-sight” policy. If the government needs another amendment, it should go back to Parliament. But exacting extra-legal and extra-judicial punishment on alleged offenders should stop forthwith.
Yours, for God and Country



4TH MAY 2021



OccupyGhana® is shocked to see pictures and films in which equipment allegedly being used in Galamsey operations and apparently seized by security officials, have been set on fire. While these dramatic optics might have the support of some, we think that it is a brazen illegality that will only exacerbate the situation and not help in the fight against Galamsey.

The government’s epileptic and faltering fight Galamsey gives the impression that it is unwilling to follow and apply the law.

When Aisha Huang was first arrested, she was charged with some ludicrous, risible and insignificant administrative breaches of immigration regulations. It took a protest and a petition by OccupyGhana® on 16th May 2017 for her to be charged with the proper offences under the Minerals and Mining Act, which, as we will show, provides for serious punishment for illegal mining. We believe that her quiet and hurried deportation by government was to avoid subjecting her to the full rigours of the law. We insist that that unfortunate truncation of the judicial process sounded the death knell to the Galamsey fight.

But the law in the Minerals and Mining Act is clear. There is a fine and imprisonment between 15 and 25 years for each of the following crimes:

  1. buying or selling minerals without a licence or authority;
  2. mining in breach of the law;
  3. abetting any breach of the mining law;
  4. contracting a non-Ghanaian to provide mining support services;
  5. abetting the breach of the mining laws by a foreigner;
  6. fabricating or manufacturing floating platforms or other equipment to be used for mining in our water bodies; and
  7. providing an excavator for an illegal mining operation.

The Act further provides that a non-Ghanaian who illegally mines or abets illegal mining attracts a large fine and imprisonment between 20 and 25 years, and shall be deported AFTER serving the sentence. This is what should have been applied to Aisha Huang.

Also, and of particular importance to us, is the legal provision that equipment used in any of these offences is required to be first seized and kept in police custody. Then, when the person using the equipment for the illegal mining activity is convicted, the court will order the forfeiture of the equipment the state. Then the Minister has 60 days within which to allocate the equipment to a state institution. There is absolutely no legal room for simply torching the equipment. It is illegal and must stop forthwith.

We think that all the efforts to end illegal mining will not achieve anything until we resolve to simply enforce the law. If the security agencies make arrests and the law is not applied, it weakens their resolve and says to all that we are not serious about ending this menace. And the judiciary should need no encouragement to try cases with dispatch so that Ghanaians can see results in real time. It cannot be business as usual.

We have two simple messages for the government –(1) Galamsey is illegal: the fight against it cannot be based on illegality and, (2) If you want to win the fight against Galamsey, APPLY THE LAW..

Still in the service of God and Country


The Case of the Missing Galamsey Excavators

29 JANUARY 2020




Accra, January 29, 2019 – The Media Coalition Against Galamsey, OccupyGhana, and we believe, most Ghanaians, are disappointed and saddened by the revelation by the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Frimpong Boateng that hundreds of seized Galamsey excavators have disappeared from District Assemblies around the country.

Our deep concern at this revelation stems from the fact that the authorities have simply once again failed to follow and enforce the law. The inability of the government to enforce the law, from the facts as we know them, is only matched by the brazenness of the illegal miners.

We have a number of questions for the government that require answers; and we respectfully demand those answers.

First, under the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act, it is illegal for anyone to “erect equipment… for the purpose of mining” without being the holder of either a mining lease or a small-scale mining licence. Everyone who does this commits an offence. The government has to explain to Ghanaians whether the persons from whom the equipment was allegedly seized were also arrested. If that did not happen, the government should explain why it did not happen. Or, were the illegal miners also allowed to disappear just like the equipment?

Second, the law then provides that upon the arrest of illegal miners, the equipment they were using “shall, regardless of the ownership…, be seized and kept in the custody of the police.” It is for very good reason that the law demands that the equipment should be kept by the police, and no other institution. The government therefore has to explain to Ghanaians why the equipment allegedly seized was kept with District Assemblies and not the police. Was this deliberate? Was this to make it very easy for the equipment to simply ‘disappear’? Did anyone take an inventory of the seized equipment and if so where is that inventory? Which public officers were responsible for flouting the law?

Third, the Act demands that the arrested persons should be tried in court and then upon conviction, the court is empowered to “order the forfeiture of any equipment… seized.” The government has to explain to Ghanaians whether the persons from whom the equipment was seized were duly prosecuted, and if not, why not? Without prosecution, the seized equipment cannot be forfeited in the manner the law demands. Are any prosecutions still taking place? If so, have there been any convictions? And if so, did the courts order forfeiture? Is the government able to publish a report on these matters?

Fourth, the Act provides that within 60 days of the confiscation, the Minister for Mines shall “allocate the equipment… to the appropriate state institution and publish in the Gazette the name of the state institution to which the equipment… is allocated.” We do not need to ask this question because it is pretty obvious to all of us that this has not happened.

Fifth, the Roadmap For Lifting of Ban on Artisanal & Small Scale Mining & the Way Forward policy document says in section 3.2.1 bullet 3 that there shall be a “Directive by the Government/IMCIM to move all earth moving mining equipment for artisanal and small-scale mining to designated areas for subsequent registration and installation of tracking devices. This will be done under the direct supervision of the Regional Ministers prior to the vetting of artisanal and small-scale mining companies”. Obviously from the statement of the Minister this directive has not been implemented.

Also, section 3.2.5 states that “The Minerals Commission in collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have been tasked to register and install tracking devices on earth moving equipment to ensure that the use of equipment at inappropriate locations are monitored and reported. A committee was formed to deal with the registration and installation of tracking device on the earth moving mining equipment.” Has this provision been implemented? If it had, these excavators would have been registered and could be tracked making it impossible for them to be stolen. Can the government explain to Ghanaians why this has not happened?

And, sixth, we also need to know from the government whether all existing mining leases and small-scale licences have now been submitted to Parliament for ratification as is required under both the Constitution and the Minerals and Mining Act.

Considering the above and the revelation by the Minister, the government should be as unhappy as we are, and more so. If the government with all the power and force at its disposal is unwilling to or incapable of implementing and enforcing its own laws, then it gives a signal to potential wrongdoers that we have no respect for the rule of law; it is just something we mention to others to make us feel good. That is why the nation is still under brazen attack from illegal miners. They know that we make noise and even deploy our military, but we have no teeth to bite. Nowhere is this more evident than the blatant illegal mining at the place called “Dollar Power,” and the apparent inability or unpreparedness of the government to enforce the law there. This and the impunity it connotes should be a scar on our conscience.

We are therefore not surprised that the War Against Galamsey is generally accepted to be failing. Operation Vanguard has all but petered out. That is unacceptable. We call on the government to shake itself out of its stupor and enforce the mining law without fear or favour. We also call on the media and civil society organizations to reawaken, hold leadership to account and reinvigorate the #StopGalamsey war.

Losing this war is not an option. Irresponsible and unsustainable mining is an existential threat and should not be countenanced.

Issued by:

Media Coalition Against Galamsey