Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul has ordered the Chief of Defence Staff to immediately launch investigations into reports that some military officers are providing security for illegal miners.
He said the military has not officially ordered any such acts and the culprits should be made to face the full rigours of the law if found culpable.
“If there is any soldier or Commanding Officer in any of our garrisons has allowed his soldiers to go and engage in illegal mining, I can say that the army is not aware of it and we will look at it and if anybody is found to have committed that crime, that person will be dealt with accordingly.
“As it stands now, the army has not and will not authorize anybody to engage in protecting illegal miners. The army has not authorised anybody and they don’t know anything about it, but they will investigate it immediately,” he added.
Mr Nitiwul said as far as he is concerned, the military is to provide protection for large scale miners and other licensed small-scale miners who are being pestered by illegal miners.
Any other thing apart from that, he said, is against the law and should not be allowed to continue.
The Defence Minister’s comment follows revelations by Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Peter Amewu during his tour of some galamsey sites in the Ashanti region on Monday that some military personnel were protecting illegal mining sites.
The Minister revealed that “Most of the sites we visited today were heavily manned by the military command and I was wondering under what circumstances [were they undertaking this exercise] because my outfit had under no circumstance signed any contract with the military to protect that illegality.”
He said it was wrong for the military to be involved in such illegalities and ordered an immediate probe into the situation.
He added that “Until the law enforcement agencies begin to take this action seriously, I don’t think there is any way we will achieve our objective.”
Meanwhile, the Lands Minister has ordered the arrest of some Russian and Ukrainian nationals who are engaging in illegal mining in Ghana.