General News of Thursday, 14 December 2017
The Eastern Regional Minister and Chairman of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) Eric Kwakye Darfuor has revealed that some youth in mining communities are enticing members of anti-galamsey Task force, Operation Vanguard who are on assignment in the region.
According to him, the situation is making the fight against illegal mining very difficult even though some arrests have been made and several culprits arraigned before court.
“The youth of this area are who are into galamsey are bribing the Operation Vanguard personnel, so it doesn’t work. You don’t know when you’ll suffer the effect of illegal mining, this is a serious issue so I beg of you let’s discourage such acts. Operation Vanguard has made a lot of arrests, some have been convicted, one of the convicts was being charged GHC60,000 he couldn’t afford it so he’s serving his time in jail. No one should think that the machines that have been seized will be released. Hon. Kwakye Darfuor said.
However the outgoing Commander of Operation Vanguard Col. William Agyekum has denied the claims saying no member of Operation Vanguard has stooped so low to be compromised.
“From where I sit and from the operations we’ve conducted so far I can say no Operation Vanguard personnel has been compromised as is being said. Why is the accused now becoming the perpetrator, you’re not supposed to be in the field, so why do you go to the field and later claim that somebody is claiming money from you. That’s not how we’ve been trained, if you look at the items we’ve seized so far and the money we’ve collected from the arrested persons as exhibit, let me cite Atiwa. We had to collect money as much as getting to over GHC40,000 together with Dollars and Pound Sterling from the miners and these monies were intact as at the day they were giving pronouncement at the court, these monies were handed over to them. If we were out there looking for money, why do we even have to wait a minute, these monies were with us. Col. William Agyekum told Joy FM.
He also emphasized that no powerful personality has tried interfering with their work saying “one of the major key ingredients for how far we’ve gotten to is the fact that we’ve not had any interference whatsoever.”
Currently 699 illegal miners have been arrested in the Eastern, Ashanti and Western Regions.