April 13, 2024

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said Akonto Mining Company Limited, which belongs to the New Patriotic Party’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Mr Bernard Antwi Boasiako, is not involved in illegal mining (galamsey).

The ministry of lands and natural resources stopped the company from its mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western North Region a few months ago for engaging in illegal mining.



However, speaking at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association held in Koforidua, after the chairman of the occasion, Mr Ken Ashigbey, a staunch anti-galamsey advocate raised the issue, the president responded thus: “Let me respond briefly to the chairperson on the issue of illegal mining: I want to assure him and all of you that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak”.

“Further”, the president added, the ministry of lands and natural resources has, through the agency of the forestry commission, with the assistance of the military, made the effort to cordon off all 294 sites of forest reserves in the country and rid them of illegal mining as we speak.”

President Akufo Addo clears Akonta mining of its complicity in illegal mining. The company belongs to the Ashanti Regional Chairman of his party, Chairman Wontumi pic.twitter.com/hqUzgxFNpf

— Gh Environment (@GhEnvironment_) January 4, 2023

The Akonta Mining issue is one of the several cases being investigated by Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng.

In October last year, four individuals, including Mr Ashigbey, petitioned the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, to commence investigations into galamsey allegations made against Akonta Mining Limited.

The petition, dated 13 October 2022, jointly signed by Mr Ashigbey, Mr Martin Kpebu, Mr Kwame Asiedu and Mr Edem Senanu, called on the CID boss, DCOP Faustina Andoh Kwofie, to prosecute Akonta Mining officials and others for undertaking illegal mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest reserve contrary to the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment Act) Act, 2019 (Act 995).

“We wish to petition you on the above subject matter of illegal mining (galamsey) which has caused a loss of parts of Ghana’s forest cover, polluted our water bodies, and poses other threats to us and other Ghanaians,” the petition stated.

The petitioners explained that a review of an enclosed documentary (annexure 1) by Multimedia (Joy FM) and journalist Erastus Asare Donkor, shows that in August and September 2022 or thereabout, the above-mentioned company and Chairman Wontumi undertook illegal mining/mining operations in the Tano Nimiri forest reserve.

Indeed, the same person conducted prospecting in the same forest without the requisite licence or permit, the petition said.

The petition revealed that a search has been conducted at the company registry and it has confirmed that Mr Bernard Boasiako is a director and shareholder of Akonta Mining Limited.

Mr Wontumi denied the allegation when it first came up.

He made the denial on his Wontumi TV.

The stop order was contained in a statement issued by the minister of lands and natural resource, Mr Samuel Jinapor on Friday, 30 September 2020.

It said even though Akonta Mining Limited has a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, “the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve”.

Mr Jinapor, according to the statement, thus, ordered the Forestry Commission to, “forthwith, ensure that the company does not carry out any operation in the Forest and to take the necessary action against any person found culpable in this matter”.

Reacting to the ministry’s action, Chairman Wontumi said: “I am appealing to them to use the law”.

“They should do their investigations, and we should let the law work”.

In his response to claims that he is involved in illegal mining, he said: “I want to tell the public that I am not into galamsey”.

“I have a large-scale company which Akonta mining is under… All the required documents, I have; I will make all available”, he added.

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