So, Forestry Commission Didn't See Akonta Mining Entering Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve? - Charles Owusu Asks

Former Head of Monitoring Unit of the Forestry Commission, Charles Owusu, has blamed the Chief Executive Officers of the Forestry, Lands and Minerals Commissions for the difficulties that the Government of Ghana is having in ending the galamsey menace.

Charles Owusu, speaking to Nana Yaw Kesseh on Peace FM's morning show "Kokrokoo", noted that there is no way illegal mining activities would keep going on should these Chief Executives execute their mandates effeciently.

" . . the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources cannot be everywhere. That is why we have a department called Forestry Commission that is under the Ministry. What work are they doing? When you take the Minerals Commission, there is a Mineral Officer in every district . . . What is their job? What is their core mandate? Are they there to just sit down? . . . What have they done?," he questioned.

He cited the case of Akonta Mining Ltd, a mining company belonging to the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Bosiako a.k.a Chairman Wontumi; encroaching on the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Amenfi West Municipality in the Western Region.

He couldn't fathom how Akonta Mining gained access to the forest reserve without the notice of the authorities.

"So, the Forestry Commission didn't see that Akonta Mining has entered the forest. Now that they have to take steps but when someone commits crime, do we take steps? If indeed they have crossed the line and entered an unauthorized place, is it steps we take? What questions are we asking the Regional Minister who is responsible for the forest? The District Manager who is in charge of the day-to-day management and supervision of the forest, what was he doing that he says he didn't see what was happening in the forest?"

He called on the President to crack the whip on the MMDCEs and Chief Executives of the various State institutions whose negligence have led to these illegalities in the forest and mining communities.

"I think that the people who are responsible for day-to-day work to prevent the [illegal] galamsey, they are not doing it . . . Indeed, the galamseyers voted against President Akufo-Addo and his party . . . Because all the mining areas, almost, the NPP lost the mining areas but when they lost, those people who were supposed to do their job but shirked the duties; the same people are still there.

"They are doing nothing and we will be insulting the Chiefs. I want to ask who goes for a lease from the palace? . . . The civil servants, the Chief Executives of these various State institutions responsible for the management of the day-to-day of those institutions, where are they? Why are they not talking?", he fumed.