A Special Aide to former President John Dramani Mahama believes the nearly 500 excavators which were seized from illegal miners but have reportely gone missing is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government's way of monopolizing the illiegal mining (galamsey) trade.
Lawyer Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe claims the task-force set up with the blessing of President Akufo-Addo is operating contrary to the Minerals and Mining Act, Section 90(5).
The current hullabaloo over some missing excavators seized from some illegal miners sums up the challenges in the country's fight against galamsey.
In 2017, government set up a joint military/police task force, Operation Vanguard and later the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Mining to stem the tide of the galamsey menace
However, their operations have been without controversy or incidents of crimes as three members of the Operation Vanguard team were arrested for their alleged involvement in a bribery and extortion racket.
Speaking on Okay FM’s Ade Akye Abia Morning Show, Edudzi Tamakloe described happenings in the fight against illegal mining as ‘revolting’ and accused the taskforce of perpetrating an illegality by seizing mining equipments of these galamseyers.
“The Minerals and Mining Act regulates mining in the country and if you look at section 90(5), it states that if someone engages in illegal mining, it is an offense and when the person is arrested, every equipment or item including products like gold you find in the process should be used as an exhibit and the exhibit must be kept in the custody of the police; this is in the act and all the items will be listed against the offenders," he stated.
He reiterated that “Prof. Frimpong Boateng with the blessings of Nana Akufo-Addo formed a taskforce but contrary to the requirement of law, the task-force is using their own process in keeping these excavators in the various district assemblies and then created 4 yards in Accra and Tema to keep the excavators”.
“At this point, what is happening shows that, this whole task-force in the fight against galamsey was an opportunity for the NPP government to monopolize galamsey business among party apparatchikis”, he slammed.
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