Home Politics Akufo-Addo has failed in galamsey fight - NDC

Akufo-Addo has failed in galamsey fight – NDC

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The
opposition NDC has criticised President Akufo-Addo for “betraying”
government’s fight against illegal mining after freeing a Chinese
kingpin, Aisha Huang.

National Communications Officer of the party, Sammy Gyamfi said the President has demonstrated that “the interest of the people of Ghana matters little when it comes to instant gratification”.

Read full statement below:

“Akufo-Addo’s Failed Fight against Galamsey is a monumental betrayal of the trust of Ghanaians.”

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the press. I have the singular honor of welcoming you to today’s encounter which forms part of our continuous assessment of the performance of the Akufo-Addo government, through our evidence-based and facts-driven engagements dubbed “Moment of Truth”. Today’s edition, which is the Fourth Edition, will be addressing President Akufo-Addo’s failed and deceptive fight against the illegal mining menace

Friends
from the media, somewhere last week, Ghanaians woke up to damning
commentary contained in a video making the rounds in both traditional
and social media. In the said video, the Senior Minister of this
Republic, Yaw Osafo-Maafo is heard, while addressing a section of
Ghanaians abroad, giving flimsy excuses as to why the Akufo-Addo
government discontinued the criminal trial of the infamous Chinese
Galamsey Queen, Aisha Huang, who has been at the centre of many illegal
mining activities in several parts of this country.

Perhaps
the worst Easter gift the people of Ghana could have wished from the
Akufo-Addo government is this exact quote from our Senior Minister, a
man firmly embedded in the kitchen cabinet of President Akufo-Addo:

“…we have a very good relationship with China. Today, the main company that is helping to develop the infrastructure system in Ghana is Sinohydro, a Chinese Company. With these kinds of arrangements, there are other things behind the scenes … putting that lady [Aisha Huang] in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your economic problems. It is not going to make you or me happy, that’s not important”.

Friends
from the media, to treat these comments by Yaw Osafo-Maafo as a
reckless act of indiscretion as some have suggested, is to miss the
critical point the highly placed cabinet minister and senior member of
government sought to make. The platform and the context within which the
Senior Minister spoke, clearly shows that he was speaking the mind of
President Akufo-Addo and his government relative to the discontinuance
of the trial of Aisha Huang.

It
can be reasonably deduced from the Senior Minister’s comments that at
the centre of Ghana’s bilateral relations with China is an obscene
willingness on the part of the Akufo-Addo government to condone plain
criminality and flagrant disregard for the laws of our country in
exchange for money. It’s as if to say that the Sinohydro deal, a purely
commercial transaction, is a free gift from China.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ghanaians have every reason to be appalled and outraged by these shocking but honest revelations of the inner thinking of the Akufo-Addo led government. These revelations are disgraceful, reprehensible and make a mockery of the foreign policy and the much touted “Ghana beyond aid” mantra of the Akufo-Addo government.

As
for the subsequent effort by Mr Osafo-Maafo to rationalize the said
disgraceful and insulting confessions, the least said about it the
better. The bullet has already gone and it is too late to stop it.

The
Akufo-Addo government wants Ghanaians to accept the fact that we let
the notorious “Galamsey Queen” Aisha Huang off the hook because we stand
to benefit from a so-called barter deal with a Chinese company,
Sinohydro. It is therefore clear that, to President Akufo-Addo and his
government, the flouting of our laws and the destruction of our
environment do not matter.

To
them, Ghanaians involved in Galamsey can rot in jail, equipment can be
burned, and many can be shot and killed (as was suggested in Parliament
by the NPP 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joe Osei Owusu
sometime ago). However, when it comes to Chinese nationals, they have
the freedom and encouragement to engage in brazen impunity and get away
with it, all because of the Sinohydro commercial transaction.

Ladies
and gentlemen of the press, the decision of the Akufo-Addo government
to trade our laws, our environment, our resources and our lives for the
$2 billion Sinohydro deal – which by the way is not even a grant but a
so-called barter arrangement in exchange of proceeds from our bauxite,
is an insult to our sovereignty and dignity as a people.

Ladies
and gentlemen, unlike the shameful and irresponsible Akufo-Addo
government, another African country, specifically Tanzania, recently
prosecuted Yang Fenglan, a Chinese businesswoman nicknamed the “Ivory
Queen” and sentenced her to 15 years imprisonment for smuggling hundreds
of Elephant tusks. This was despite the fact that she had lived and
worked in Tanzania since the 1970s, and had served as Vice-President of
the China-Africa Business Council of Tanzania.

Unlike
Ghana, Tanzania chose not to sacrifice their laws on the altar of their
bilateral trade relations with China. Without any fear or equivocation,
they cracked the whip on Yang Fenglan and sent a strong signal to the
world that Tanzania is not ready to countenance the flouting of its laws
by foreign nationals. We submit that, by discontinuing Aisha Huang’s
trial, Ghana lost a golden opportunity to deal decisively with the
menace of illegal mining in a way that deters foreign nationals from
flouting our Minerals and Mining Laws.

Ladies
and gentlemen, it has to be emphasized, that recent remarks by the
Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Mr. Shi Ting Wang, on the
menace of illegal mining in Ghana, stand in sharp contrast to the
condescending and despicable comments of Mr. Yaw Osafo-Marfo. Unlike our
Senior Minister, His Excellency the Chinese Ambassador acknowledged the
devastating effects of illegal mining activities in our country and
pledged China’s readiness to help curb this canker.

The
Ambassador further bemoaned the institutional failures that often aid
some of these Chinese illegal miners into our country in the first
place, and the lack of communication between our authorities and the
Chinese Embassy in Accra when it comes to repatriation of some of these
persons. He, therefore, urged closer collaboration between the two
countries in fighting illegal mining in Ghana. Certainly, the government
of China will not be enthused with the bad impression that
Osafo-Maafo’s disgraceful comments create about them. The ineluctable
question is therefore why our Senior Minister would be telling the whole
world that Ghana is ready to sell her birthright to China for a
pittance. How did we get here?

AKUFO-ADDO’S FAILED “GALAMSEY” FIGHT

Distinguished
friends from the media, the revelations by Mr. Osafo-Maafo present us
an opportunity to do a post-mortem of President Akufo-Addo’s fight
against illegal mining so far. Undoubtedly, the menace of illegal mining
is the biggest threat to our environment and water security. This is
what led the Media Coalition against Illegal Mining to declare a
national war against the canker somewhere in 2017.

President
Akufo-Addo supposedly bought into this agenda and assured the nation
that he was going to put his Presidency on the line in support of this
effort. Pursuant to this pledge, President Akufo-Addo set up the
Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining and the Operation
Vanguard task force to wage a brutal war on illegal mining in all parts
of the country so as to preserve our environment from further
destruction.

It
is worthy of note, that owing to this fight, the Akufo-Addo government
banned legal small scale mining for almost two years. In the process,
some Ghanaian small-scale miners were shot and killed at their duly
licensed mining sites. Several precious lives have been lost in the last
two years including the sad and untimely death of a fine soldier, Major
Maxwell Mahama. Also, several small-scale miners have lost their
lifetime investments and livelihoods, all as a result of this fight.

Many
have had their mining equipment destroyed through a selective and
wicked application of the ban on small scale mining. Also, many Ghanaian
illegal miners (Galamseyers) have been arrested, prosecuted and jailed.
The country has expended millions of taxpayers’ money on the activities
of Operation Vanguard and the Inter-Ministerial Committee against
Illegal Mining.

Sadly,
this is where we are today; the fight against illegal mining remains
far from being won. In fact, the fight is in the final rounds of glaring
defeat. The reason is obvious: the Akufo-Addo government was never
committed to it in the first place.

Recently,
ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas released a video
documentary entitled “galamsey fraud”, which exposed various corrupt and
underhand dealings by leading officials of the Akufo-Addo government
associated with the galamsey fight. One of such officials is Mr. Charles
Bissue, Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal
Mining (IMCIM), and a Presidential Staffer.

Mr.
Bissue was caught on video receiving bribes and abusing his office to
facilitate illegal mining activities. Another NPP operative caught on
video was Mr. Andy Owusu, an Aide to the Ashanti Regional Chairman of
the NPP, Bernard Antwi Bosiako (a.k.a Chairman Wontumi). From Anas’
“Galamsey Fraud Documentary”, Andy operated as the main “connection man”
and basically served as a bribe-taking conduit between Mr. Charles
Bissue and prospective illegal miners.

Sadly,
in spite of the overwhelming audio-visual evidence of the criminal acts
of Charles Bissue and Andy Owusu, no action has been taken by President
Akufo-Addo to punish them. Mr. Bissue continues to walk a free man and
even has the temerity to appear at state functions much to the chagrin
of Ghanaians all over the world. This glaring inertia on the part of the
Akufo-Addo government to prosecute Charles Bissue and Andy Owusu for
their crime is not only ample testimony of President Akufo-Addo lack of
commitment to the fight against Galamsey and corruption but a monumental
betrayal of the trust of Ghanaians.

Apart
from these damning revelations, several actors within the Akufo-Addo
government have in one way or the other compromised the fight against
Galamsey, while the President looks on unconcerned. It would be recalled
that sometime in 2018, the Minister for Local Government, Hon. Hajia
Alima Mahama stated publicly that some MMDCE’s of this government was
actively engaged in galamsey and indicated that she was going to
publicly disclose their identities and sanction them. However, till
date, we still don’t know the identities of the said MMDCE’s the
minister talked about and what President Akufo-Addo has done about that.

Again,
the former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu
also made a startling observation that members of the Operation Vanguard
Team had been compromised by illegal miners. His observations were
later corroborated by the Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Eric Daffour.

Also,
the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu
Afriyie not too long ago stated that certain higher-ups in this
government were undermining the Galamsey fight and were actually aiding
the return of illegal miners to plunder our forests.

All
these pieces of evidence pointed to the fact that the fight against
illegal mining was heading in the wrong direction, yet President
Akufo-Addo refused to investigate these reports and bring the culprits
to book.

Very
characteristic of President Akufo-Addo, a man who talks much and does
very little, the much-touted fight against Galamsey has turned out to be
yet another example of empty rhetoric. Today, the Inter-Ministerial
Committee against Illegal mining and Operation Vanguard has been turned
into an active vehicle for facilitating and promoting illegal mining.
This has increased the spate of illegal mining in the country and has
intensified the degradation of our forests and water bodies.

CONCLUSION

Ladies
and gentlemen of the press, the fact that President Akufo-Addo’s fight
against galamsey has failed is no longer in dispute. The spectacular
failure of the supposed anti-Galamsey fight underscores what we all know
to be the truth, that President Akufo-Addo’s policies and offerings are
publicly instituted for self-aggrandizement but are in reality an
avenue for crooked members of his party and government to line their
pockets through corrupt means.

In
the circumstances, we demand that the President overhauls the
Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining and urgently reviews
his approach to the fight against illegal mining. This is the time for
President Akufo-Addo to rise above his sweet but hollow rhetoric and
start to walk the talk. He must show genuine commitment and dedication
to the fight against illegal mining. We charge him as a matter of
urgency, to weed out and bring to book all corrupt officials such as
Charles Bissue who have compromised our collective fight against Illegal
mining.

With
regards to Osafo-Maafo’s disgraceful but honest confessions, it is our
view that the Senior Minister only communicated the position of
President Akufo-Addo and his government. This is the reason why
government has so far not had the courage to denounce or contradict him.
The Akufo-Addo government has amply demonstrated that, like the
biblical Esau, the interest of the people of Ghana matters little when
it comes to instant gratification.

Despite
what he said about caring for the next generation more than the next
election, all that matters to Akufo-Addo is to obtain money at all cost
so as to do some projects that they hope will help them win election
2020. However, we know without a shadow of a doubt that the Ghanaian
people will punish President Akufo-Addo for this monumental betrayal of
our trust and mandate.

Thank you for your attention and God make our nation great and strong.

Signed:

SAMMY

GYAMFI                                                                                                 
                                                  

National Communication Officer, NDC

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