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Galamsey: We’ll go after cartels in our forest reserves – Lands Minister assures

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Lands and Natural Resources Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor says government is going after all the cartels mining in forest reserves.

According to him, the government is determined to protect the country’s forest reserves for both the current and future generations.

Mr Jinapor said President Akufo-Addo’s government will thus do whatever possible to flash out the cartels in the forest adding that the country’s resources will not be allowed to benefit only a few individuals.

He made these comments while addressing a press briefing on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

“It is a historical challenge and will require a concerted and determined effort to clamp deforestation and the degradation of our nation’s forests and we will continue to do just that.

“At the heart of these various illegal enterprises as you know is money and once money is involved, you can be rest assured that the cartels operating in our forest reserves will find every means of outwitting our efforts but let me assure you that the government of President Akufo-Addo remains absolutely determined to protect for current and future generations,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame lamented the slow pace of criminal trials and grant of bail to illegal miners who return to sites is hampering the fight against ‘galamsey’.

He however says more than 700 persons are standing trial for various offences.

Mr. Dame has in a statement to the media been updating the nation on what his office has been doing to end the menace.

He indicated that a total of one hundred and nineteen (119) criminal cases involving the prosecution of about 727 individuals for offences connected with illegal mining have been pending at the High Court and some Circuit Courts around the country since January 2022.

Four regions – Eastern, Ashanti, Western and Greater-Accra Regions are the main regions in which the prosecution of persons engaged in illegal mining is being conducted. The Upper East Region and the Northern Regions have a few as well.

On the nationalities of these accused persons, they range from Ghanaians, Chinese, Nigerian, Nigerien, Burkinabe and other West African nationals.

A recent 37-page leaked report on the activities of the defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng has placed on the front burner, various issues that have plagued Government’s fight against illegal mining, leading to the eventual dissolution of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.

In the said document, the renowned surgeon mentioned some individuals he claims frustrated his effort and the committee he chaired from addressing the canker.

“Throughout our struggle with illegalities in the small-scale mining sector, what baffled me was the total disregard of the President’s commitment to protecting the environment.

“I can state without any equivocation that many party officials from the national to the unit committee level had their friends, PAs, agents, relatives, financiers, or relatives engaged in illegal mining. Most of them engaged Chinese working for them.

“I am not referring to party people who had their legitimate concession and were mining sustainably as they were instructed to do.

“There are appointees in the Jubilee House that are doing or supporting illegal mining or interfering with the fight against the menace,” excerpts of the document said.

Professor Frimpong also accused a former NPP MP in the Ashanti Region of selling illegally acquired concessions at GH¢200,000 each.

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