The Ashanti Regional Minister has ordered the arrest of the Adansi South District NADMO Coordinator, Robert Gyamase for allegedly promoting illegal mining activities in the area.
Samuel Sarpong issued the order when he toured the district’s forest zone to assess the level of damage caused to river bodies by illegal miners.
He stated the claims would be thoroughly investigated to bring all those involved to book.
Mr. Gyamase was also accused of entering a restricted zone to undertake mining activities with some military men shielding him from any possible attack.
The malpractice has destroyed some eight hectares of the Oda forest reserve in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti region.
Mr Samuel Sarpong in an interview Luv FM indicated that 13 excavators and other equipment belonging to the illegal miners were seized during a raid on the reserve to thwart their activities.
Ten Ghanaians and two Chinese nationals, he stated, were arrested in that swoop Monday. However, they have been granted bail pending further investigations.
According to Mr. Sarpong, the arrest was to let the whole world know that the battle to stop the activities of illegal mining operations in the country goes unabated.
Meanwhile, the lives of forestry officials in Bekwai are said to be threatened by some government appointees in the area.
But Mr. Sarpong advised that “if anybody receives any threat from any government official, so far as this issue is concerned, it should be reported to me and action would be taken.”
Even though the owner of the site where the illegal mining was being carried out was not immediately known, the minister mentioned police would continue to investigate until he or she (owner) is smoked out to face the law.
The owner of the site, he stated has been operating without a license, describing the operation as illegal.
“This is a forest reserve and it’s not possible that the place would be given to someone to operate mining. It’s not possible. It’s illegal,” he fumed.
Assistant Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission in the Ashanti region, Isaac Noble Eshun confirmed to Joy News the threat on the Bekwai Coordinator’s life had come to their attention.
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