Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako, a.k.a. Chairman Wontumi, has denied allegations that he is involved in illegal small-scale mining (‘galamsey’).
He said that he will never do anything to hurt his company or ruin the image of his party, the NPP, adomonline.com reports.
The regional chairman added that if he wanted to do illegal mining, he will not go through the trouble to acquire the mining licenses he has.
“I won’t do things to hurt my company; I won’t do things to hurt this party (NPP). In 2017, I could have easily moved to the site to work but I waited untill I got the license before beginning my operations.
“If someone wants to do galamsey, would the person apply for a lease? You can’t go to the police if you want to engage in a criminal activity,” he said.
Wontumi added that his only intention in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve was to drive out ‘galamseyers’ as he awaits the permission of the lands minister to start mining.
“It is like a man who has gone in for a woman and visited her family to perform the knocking ceremony. If another guy wants to rape the lady, you have expressed interest in, won’t you protect your lady? I have the gazette and this is law and if galamsey operators want to destroy my site, shouldn’t I protect the place?” he quizzed.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has directed the Forestry Commission to suspend the operations of Akonta Mining Company in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve of the Amenfi West Municipal Assembly.
According to a statement issued by the Public Affairs office of the Ministry on Friday, September 30, 2022, the company owned by the ruling NPP Chairman for Ashanti Region has been engaging in mining activities in the forest without a permit.
“The attention of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has been drawn to publications about certain operations by Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Amenfi West Municipality in the Western Region.
“Records available to the Ministry show that while Akonta Mining Ltd has a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, outside the Forest Reserve, the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve,” the statement said.
According to the Ministry, while Akonta Mining Company had applied for a permit to mine in the said forest reserve, the Minister had yet to give approval to any such application hence rendering the activities of the firm in the said forest reserve illegal.
Source: Ghana Web