Akufo-Addo must punish officials who failed Ghanaians in galamsey fight – Suhuyini

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini has urged the President to account for all items seized in the fight against illegal mining.

Already, various bodies have called on the government to provide details on the progress or otherwise made on the fight against galamsey, with the National Democratic Congress (NDC), demanding for a public exhibition of the seized excavators.

Alhassan Suhuyini, on the Floor of Parliament on Tuesday, said: “His Excellency the President who boldly put his Presidency on the line to demonstrate how much this course meant to him, if for nothing at all, Mr. Speaker, has his Presidency to save and it will be important that he starts by accounting for and to the people of Ghana all equipment, vehicles, weapons, ammunition and gold which were seized and kept by officers he commissioned to help end illegal mining and if necessary, penalize all who have proven to be negligent or complacent in what may have gone wrong.”

He also urged the House to probe the amount of money released for the fight against illegal mining and whether it was used for the right purpose.

“Mr. Speaker, in the face of what is clearly less than a successful campaign, I suggest humbly that your Parliament also shows more interest in how funds approved for this exercise to the various institutions have truly be expended and the results attained. Because these are funds belonging to the people whose interest we in all humility represent,” he added.

Similar calls

The NDC has asked the government to account for all excavators and ammunition seized during the Stop Galamsey Campaign.

According to the Communications Director of the party, Sammy Gyamfi, the government had seized 900 excavators during the campaign.

He cited figures in the 2020 budget presented in Parliament to support his claim.

Addressing a press conference on the banks of River Pra at Twifo Praso in the Central Region on Sunday, Mr. Gyamfi challenged the government to make a public presentation on the state of the items.

Calls for probe

A former Minister for Environment, Science and Technology under the erstwhile Mahama administration, Akwasi Oppong Fosu, has called for an intensive investigation into the missing excavators case.

Mr. Fosu in an interview said an intensive investigation into the matter will bring some finality to the issue.

The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council has also thrown its weight behind calls for Akufo-Addo to take a keen interest in the alleged missing excavators and gold saga.

The latest call comes on the back of a similar one made by the Concerned Small Scale Miners.

In an interview with Citi News, General Secretary of the Council, Rev. Emmanuel T. Barrigah said the Council expects that people found culpable in the ongoing investigations will be dealt with.

Meanwhile, the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate alleged corruption in the enforcement of small scale mining laws.

ASEPA wants the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining and the anti-illegal mining task force, Operation Vanguard, to be the focus of the probe by the Special Prosecutor.

In the petition, it highlighted the need for “full investigations into the misappropriation of seized items such as excavators, mining equipment, gold and weapons by the IMCIM through the fight against illegal mining.”

Background

The missing excavators brouhaha began when Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and also Chairperson for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), disclosed recently that some of the excavators which were seized from illegal miners between 2017 and 2018 had vanished.

Some members of the Concerned Small Scale Miners Association subsequently revealed that they knew the whereabouts of the missing excavators, with claims that they were being used for galamsey in parts of the country.

The suspended NPP Central Regional Vice Chairman, Ekow Ewusi who was contracted by the government to cart excavators and other vehicles and pieces of equipment seized by Operation Vanguard to designated areas for safekeeping was then seen as a suspect to the case.

A letter sighted by Citi News revealed that Prof. Frimpong-Boateng wrote a letter to the Police CID to investigate him over his alleged involvement in the missing earth-moving equipment.

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