The Akufo-Addo-led government, since the inception of the fight against illegal small scale-mining in 2017, seems not to have hands-on masterminds better known as the financiers of the activity.
According to the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, though people have been arrested and arraigned before court, some of whom have been jailed, the Ministry is yet to identify the financiers of the activity also known as “galamsey”.
“People have been put before the court, people have been arrested, people have been put in jail…who are into illegal mining…they are the people we have caught,” he stated in an interview with Citi FM, monitored by Angelonline.com.gh.
The host of Citi Breakfast show, Bernard Koku Avle, on whose programme the Minister spoke, argued that in fighting drugs and other illicit activities, it is imperative that the intelligence or law enforcement agencies track the source of the funding in an effort to nip the menace in the bud, but not the mere prosecution of the persons on the frontline.
“If you go and catch somebody doing mining with a basket and you go and put him in prison, you haven’t done anything,” he said in support of his argument.
But in his response, the Minister cum Member of Parliament for Tarkwa Nsuaem Constituency in the Western Region said, “You do that when you trace and you get that Bernard or Kofi is involved in that activity. That is where you can get the person arrested. We are not in a Junta regime where you can just go and say I suspect, I feel that somebody is involved.”
He also argued that the bone of contention is not the names of people who can be identified but “the cases in court and who can be prosecuted”.
The MP’s comments were in response to a question seeking to find out the “most significant galamsey financier who has been identified and tracked and even arrested” within the five years of the government’s fight against the menace.
The question came in wake of Ghana Cocoa Board’s report which reveals that over 11,000 hectares of cocoa farms are being destroyed by the activities of illegal small-scale miners in the mining areas.
Meanwhile Mr. Duker has indicated that Government has continuously revised its measures in effort to curb the menace wreaking havoc in the environment.
One of such measures he mentioned is the commissioning of river wardens who would patrol the banks of rivers together with the use of speedboats on the rivers to monitor the activities of the illegal small-scale miners.