General News of Tuesday, 9 May 2017
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has denied claims that its officers are involved in galamsey activities in some parts of the country as stated in a confidential National Security report.
A statement issued and signed by the Director, Public Relations of GAF, Col Eric Aggrey Quarshie said, his men were deployed to fight illegal fishing, lumbering, and pollution at Banda Nwanta and not to protect concessions of illegal miners.
According to the statement, the mining concessions that the military men officially protect, are those legally approved by the state. Citing Anglogold Ashanti and the Canada-Ghana Mining Company as key examples of concessions the military officially protects.
“It must be placed on record that GAF is yet to receive any such report and therefore is unable to comment directly on it at this material time.”
GAF is also not happy about comments being made in the media when the news about the confidential report was leaked and was discussed on an Accra based Joy FM’s “Super Morning”.
“GAF wishes to express its utter dismay at the judgment and conclusions drawn by panelists on the morning show as well as subsequent news reports, without seeking the position of GAF on the matter before going ahead to discredit the military in its entirety. Indeed, contrary to what was alleged in the reportage, the GAF was never invited to participate in the forum and to state its position.”
Below is their statement
GAF IS NOT INVOLVED IN ‘GALAMSEY’
On Friday 5 May 2017, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) monitored Joy FM’s Super Morning Show during which the host, Kojo Yankson and some panelists discussed a reported confidential National Security document which was supposedly intercepted by a Reporter, Raymond Acquah, alleging the involvement of GAF in illegal mining activities (galamsey) at Banda Nkwanta in the general area of the Bui Dam.
GAF wishes to express its utter dismay at the judgment and conclusions drawn by panelists on the morning show as well as subsequent news reports, without seeking the position of GAF on the matter before going ahead to discredit the military in its entirety.
Indeed, contrary to what was alleged in the reportage, the GAF was never invited to participate in the forum and to state its position.
It is common knowledge that GAF does not seek to engage in self-publicity.
However, in the wake of the said panelists’ discussions and the impression the Joy FM report sought to create, it has become imperative to clarify the position of GAF.
As part of its Internal Security operations in support of civil authorities, GAF personnel are deployed across the country to perform numerous operational roles in order to safeguard the integrity and security of the state and to preserve the environment.
Some of these personnel deployed under ‘OPERATION HALT’ are tasked to support efforts at curbing illegal mining activities and to provide security at state-sanctioned mining sites and concessions to ward off illegal miners, robbery attacks and encroachment.
In this regard, GAF has officially deployed personnel at Anglogold Ashanti mining sites and concessions. Under the same guiding principle of providing security to enhance socio-economic activities, such support could be extended to certified corporate bodies which require assistance.
Examples include protection of the mining concessions of the Canada-Ghana Mining Company whose property worth thousands of dollars was vandalized at Sraha in the Wassa Amenfi District.
In the case of the personnel deployed at Banda Nkwanta as reported by Joy FM, GAF wishes to state categorically that these personnel are deployed to check illegal fishing, lumbering, pollution and other activities that are deemed detrimental to the smooth operations of the Bui Dam.
Therefore, the assertion that GAF has deployed personnel to provide security at an illegal mining concession at Banda Nkwanta or to superintend over illegal mining is completely erroneous.
The commitment of GAF in enforcing the directives and ultimatum to halt ‘galamsey’ operations is demonstrated in the resolve of the Military High Command to deal with both perpetrators and collaborators.
For example, where service personnel have been identified or arrested for assisting or engaging in any activity or unauthorized operations in relation to illegal mining, they have been dealt with in accordance with the applicable Armed Forces Regulations.
On 28 March 2017 three ex-service men dressed in assorted military uniforms were picked up by a military patrol team for extortion and other activities in relation to illegal small scale mining at Wassa Akropong.
The ex-service men were handed over to the civil police for further investigations and prosecution.
The Military High Command does not condone any acts of indiscipline involving its personnel but it is worth stating it is not always that our internal disciplinary measures are brought into the public domain.
However, every misdemeanour that prejudices our service code of discipline is promptly investigated and dealt with.
In this regard, the Military High Command will be happy to receive any evidence of misconduct for immediate action.
GAF further wishes to state that it is wholly in support and involved in all the strategies designed at halting illegal mining in the country.
Indeed, the GAF has contributed positively in crafting anti-galamsey plans. GAF also acknowledges the vital role being played by the Media Coalition Against Galamsey.
However, in order not to undermine or discredit the important roles of a major stakeholder, like GAF, in the fight against galamsey, it is very important that media houses cross check their facts with GAF or other institutions for clarifications on any reports before going public.
On the confidential National Security report allegedly intercepted by the Reporter, it must be placed on record that GAF is yet to receive any such report and therefore is unable to comment directly on it at this material time.