General News of Thursday, 12 April 2018
It appears efforts by President Akufo-Addo and his government to curb illegal mining is being thwarted by some state security personnel for their own parochial interest.
A video clip has emerged implicating a man said to be a national security personnel.
Evans Kwarfo who did not know he was under investigation was captured telling the investigator [client] to exercise patience as he [Mr. Kwarfo] is waiting for the dust to settle before he takes a step in securing a land at Upper Amenfi forest for the illegal activity.
“What matters is prayers and strength. These are the only things that matter,” Mr Kwarfo said while stressing that “People are interested but everybody is scared. Even yesterday, officers with Vanguard arrested some people and ceased their excavators. They arrested some Chinese.”
Kwarfo blatantly told the ‘client’ that work could begin smoothly on the land in question if a request for security is approved.
“If you go and request for security protection, they will tell you to take your time. At the moment, it is difficult to get security when you place a request,” he said, looking over his shoulders.
As the ‘client’ promised him an amount of $20,000 should he help them secure a land and maximum security for their operation, Kwarfo ended up disclosing that he and his accomplices have been able to secure 270 concessions at Denya Forest for a prominent personality and was hopeful of securing another piece of land elsewhere in the Western Region soon.
“They just finished and have taken it to the Minerals Commission. There is a lot in it and I’m supervising all for them. The land is well resourced,” he said.
This comes few days after Kennedy Agyapong, Member of Parliament for Assin Central called on the president and Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu to regulate the operations of anti-galamsey taskforce, Operation Vanguard, alleging that some members were conniving with some officers within the Ghana Police Service to extort money from illegal miners.
“Grounds are not fertile because this Operation Vanguard taskforce are collecting money from these [illegal] miners and allowing them to mine” he noted on Adom TV’s ‘Badwam’ Tuesday, adding that “some of them are arrested and assaulted physically while those who pay are allowed to go and operate. I am serious… They have connived with the police and are allowing illegal miners to mine.”
Operation Vanguard was launched by President Akufo-Addo in July 2017 after an intense media campaign put pressure on government to curb activities of small-scale illegal mining activities also known as galamsey as they were said to be polluting water bodies and the environment as a whole.
400 security men made up of personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the Police Service were divided into three groups to cover the Ashanti, Eastern and Western regions.