GHANA: SOLDIERS PROTECTING ‘GALAMSEY’ WON’T BE SPARED – DEFENCE MINISTER

ACCRA, Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul has ordered the Chief of Defence Staff to launch an immediate investigation into alleged reports that some Ghana military men are protecting illegal gold mining concessions, especially in the Ashanti region.

The revelation was made by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, when he toured some mining concessions in the Ashanti region.

Amewu on Monday accused some sections of the military high command of providing cover for illegal mining activities, popularly known as galamsey in some hard hit enclaves in the Ashanti region.

According to him, such high ranking officers in the GAF have taken the laws into their own hands and deployed personnel to protect the illegal miners in their business, specifically in the Ashanti Region where his team toured Monday.

The law enforcement agencies, especially the military are protecting an illegality, and I think its time that the truth be told. Most of the sites we visited were being heavily manned by the military command and for what reasons, under what circumstances? because my outfit under no circumstances signed any contract with the military to protect those illegalities.

We tried to find out from the Mineral’s Commission, the Mineral’s Commission have established beyond all reasonable doubt that they have never under any occasion established any contract with those military.

And so whoever authorized those military to for instance be protecting the Geo Professional Services(GPS), the Russian and the Ukranian sites, I think that it’s time those people are brought back to answer very important questions. I don’t think the military should be doing that protection because they are military.

Off course they will be paid a handsome reward for those activities that they are undertaking. Whoever authorized those militaries, I think we need to go a bit detailed into this. Until the law enforcement agencies begin to take this action very serious, I don’t think there is any way we are going to achieve our objective.

Reacting to the allegations by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, the Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul said the military high command has not deployed men to protect illegal mining concessions, however military personnel are only engaged by big mining companies upon requests.

He said the GAF has not sanctioned the illegal protection of galamsey sites by soldiers in the country, in view of that personnel found culpable after investigations will be dealt with drastically.

Amewu in the wake of the allegations against the military said his ministry is in the process of reviewing the current regime which allows soldiers to protect mining concessions.

If there is any soldier or Commanding Officer in any of our garrisons or battalion that has allowed his soldiers to go and engage in illegal mining, the army is not aware of it.

As it stands now, the army has not and will not authorize anybody to engage in protecting galamseyers, those doing illegal mining. When anybody is found out to have acted against the army directives, that person will be taken through the due process, first through the army disciplinary process and of course the civilian processes.

Meanwhile, the Koforidua High Court has granted bail to three Chinese nationals and three Ghanaian accomplices arrested for illegally mining at Denkyira near Nkawkaw in the Eastern region.

The passports of the Chinese have also been confiscated. The six suspects were granted bail of Ghc30,000 with two surety each.

The accused persons are Gao Suba, 43, Wu Shao Lin, 44, Wu Enzing, 45 � all Chinese nationals. The Ghanaians are Benjamin Amaning, 22, Raymond Ayambilla, 30, and Atta Dankwa 31. They are facing charges of conspiracy to commit crime, mining without license.

The court had earlier granted bail to Amaning following a bail application filed by his counsel. The defense counsel argued he was not part of the alleged illegal operation. The case was adjourned to June 9.

The accused persons were arrested on April 1 at Denkyira, a village near Nkawkaw during a swoop led by the immediate past New Juaben Municipal Police Commander, Superintendent Richardson Kumeko.

The police impounded four excavators, three pump action guns and 68 cartridges used by the accused persons at their mining site.

Four other Chinese nationals suspected to be accomplices of the accused persons but managed to escape during the swoop were later arrested by the Nkawkaw divisional Police Command and are also standing trial.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK