In a curious re-enactment of the scandalous burning of earth-moving equipment as a sign of fighting illegal mining activities “Galamsey”, the Defence Ministries has announced it has burnt 127 Changfan riverbed mining equipment and nine excavators.
Yet, that was the same tactics deployed some four years ago by the Akufo Addo government that led to his officials, including the Minister of Science and Environment, Professor Frimpong Boateng ghosting dozens of excavators as gifts to ruling party officials.
Eventually, several members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and some government officials would be fingered for engaging in illegal mining too.
For four years, the Akufo Addo administration had woefully failed and had been compromised in the Galamsey fight, but this week, the government suddenly jerked into action, claiming it has renewed its anti-galamsey fight.
Some 200 soldiers were consequently deployed to known illegal mining sites on river bodies across the country where they allegedly set fire to some 127 Changfans, nine excavators and a fuel pump during their operations.
The ‘operation halt’ soldiers also arrested two Chinese galamseyers.
Speaking about the operation, Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul told journalists at a press conference on Friday, 30 April 2021 that: “It is noted that since the operation commenced on Wednesday, 28 April 2021 to Thursday, 29 April 29 2021, the troops have destroyed a good deal of equipment including nine excavators, 127 Changfans.”
He continued: “Furthermore, the following items have been seized and would be destroyed except items that will be used as exhibits in the court for prosecution: 8 by 24 plate batteries, one pump action gun case, a generator, a Huawei phone, a chainsaw machine, eight raincoats, fuel filters, non-citizen Ghana cards, two drilling equipment and two boots. These items would be destroyed except what the police deem necessary for their work for prosecution, otherwise, everything will be destroyed”, he said.
However, critics have described the latest anti-galamsey fight by the Akufo Addo as tokenism designed to give the public false hopes, given reports that his own party officials and appointees are the main kingpins in the illegal mining mafia.
The Akufo Addo administration has chalked a terrible reputation as being directly complicit in the illegal mining activities in the country as its appointees, party officials and military officers deployed to curb the illegal mining activities have been cited as the main culprits.
There have been several instances where the military deployed to these mining sites have been seen heavily protecting illegal Chinese miners and their local conspirators.
Also, documentary evidence has exposed some high-profile appointees of the Akufo Addo
administration fingered in the illegal mining operations, including Professor
Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the former Minister of Science and Environment and
the then-Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee Against Illegal Mining
(IMCIM) who was caught on tape discussing how to distribute seized illegal
mining excavators to party officials to use it to mine their concessions and
repatriate funds into the coffers of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Other names such as John Boadu, NPP General Secretary and Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah have all featured in those fingered to be controlling illegal mining
concessions. They have denied the allegations, but insiders could swear that
they are indeed part of the mining mafia.
While holding his former portfolio as Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo became infamous for his a spirited defence of Aisha Huang, a notorious Chinese illegal miner nicknamed
“Galamsey Queen”. Aisha Huang has reportedly destroyed several cocoa
plantations with the due backing of government officials and had even been
named in the murder of a man for resisting her rampage through the farms.
When she was arrested, the Akufo Addo administration refused to prosecute her but allowed her to spirit her loot away to China, where she was later deported.
When confronted during a town hall meeting in the USA, Mr. Osafo Maafo shot down the agitation for Aisha Huang’s prosecution, saying her arrest will not bring any fresh
development to Ghana, and that because Ghana was negotiating a questionable
US$2 billion Sinohydro loan from China, the Akufo Addo government would not
want to offset the cart by arresting the notorious Chinese.
Observers believe that the entire illegal mining operations of the Chinese that have led to the
destruction of virgin forests, cocoa plantations and river bodies in Ghana has
been under the purview of the Akufo Addo administration all along, hence the
failure to stop the mafia-like trade for over four years in the
administration’s first term.