The CEO of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi has disclosed that on Monday, May 1, the small-scale mining task force in Oda arrested three Yemenis in the area.
He said that the Commission has involved the police to undertake the necessary procedures to prosecute the perpetrators.
“Just this Monday, the holiday, the small scale task force and the Minerals Commission office in Oda arrested three Yemenis and then impounded two excavators, which are now parked at the police station.”
However, Mr Ayisi further indicated that upon the arrest, the Chief of the area visited the office of the task force and claimed ownership of the mining site that was being used by the Yemenis.
He told the host of Newsfile, Samson Lardey Anyenini, “Then a chief showed up, says, ‘ɛha yɛ medeɛ —this is my site.’
“So quickly, the police arrested them. The locals who were working fled. They’ve been arrested. We got the authorities involved. I think they’ve been granted a police inquiry bill.”
Mr Ayisi then emphasised that the fight against galamsey seemed unprogressive because influential people in society were involved in the operation, explaining that if persons such as the chief are not prosecuted and subjected to the full rigours of the law, they will be viewed by citizens as having impunity.
This perception, he pointed out, would make citizens also believe that if they engage in galamsey, they can get away with their crime.
Although he asserted that the penalties and the sanction regimes were punitive, he emphasised that they should be biting to be effective.
Mr Ayisi suggested that if the perpetrators involved in galamsey— especially the influential people— are arrested, they should be publicised and imprisoned so as to deter other citizens from engaging in the act.
“So, for instance, this chief, if he’s convicted by the court in Oda and is put in jail and is well publicised … then you are sending a strong signal to everybody that, hey, you can go to jail,” he stressed.