The Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II has stated that illegal mining popularly known as galamsey cannot be stopped in Ghana by chiefs.
According to the Okyehene, chiefs lack the powers to adequately fight galamsey in their respective areas since only the central government has what it takes to end the menace.
“Yes, there may be some chiefs clandestinely doing this [galamsey], but I can tell you, I’m not holding brief for them, most of what goes on is beyond the chief’s power,” the Okyenhene told Citi FM in an interview.
His comments come after claims by Ghanaians that some chiefs are actively involved the rise of galamsey activities in the country.
But the Okyenhene explains that chiefs are only custodians of the land, but “what is underneath the land does not belong to chiefs.”
The Okyenhene added that “the constitution says it clearly that gold is the property of the Republic of Ghana and the president is vested with that power on behalf and in trust of the people. So the gold, according to the constitution, has to be protected and looked after by the president.”
“So any chief who happens to grant land to any galamseyer to do galamsey is first in violation of the law. Most of what you hear is not chiefs granting lands, it’s individual farmers who are approached by these galamseyers to buy their land and then they proceed to inform the chief that ‘the Minerals Commission has issued me a licence to come and do this, and, so, these persons have granted me the land’, and, so, they give the chief, what we call drink money.”