General News of Monday, 24 September 2018
A former Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, has urged Parliament to summon the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to come and give account of what she knows about the involvement of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) in illegal mining (galamsey) activities.
The sector minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, recently revealed that some MMDCEs were engaged in illegal mining activities and asked them to stop the practice or else they would be named and sacked from office.
“If you know that you are engaged in it, tell yourself today that it is finished,” she made the revelation at a retreat in Accra.
Mr Oppong-Fosu, who also served as local government minister in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, however, stated that what the minister revealed was a matter that could not be swept under the carpet.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra last Friday, he said merely asking the MMDCEs to stop the illegal activities would not solve the problem.
The matter, he emphasised, needed to be taken up by Parliament to get to the bottom of it because of its negative repercussions.
“MMDCEs chair the security committees in the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies so if they are actively involved in galamsey activities as revealed by the minister who also claimed that the national security had a list of the culprits and only went ahead to warn them, it gives a great deal of concern to Ghanaians so far as our security and safety is concerned,” the former minister added.
Mr Oppong-Fosu said illegal mining was a real source of concern because it had national and global security implications.
Even as there are plans to lift the ban placed on small-scale mining, he stressed the need for the government to assure Ghanaians about measures it was putting in place to combat the galamsey menace.
He further mentioned money laundering, illegal immigration, armed robberies and terrorism as some of the negative activities that came with illegal mining.
He also questioned whether foreigners who operated at illegal mining sites were properly documented by the Ghana Immigration Service.
According to Mr Oppong-Fosu, studies had shown that the illegally mined gold in the country were often smuggled out.
The former minister also expressed concern about the socio-economic impact of galamsey and mentioned high school dropout rate in mining communities, the use of dangerous chemicals, the destruction of farmlands and water bodies as some of the consequences of galamsey activities in the country.