Principal Kingmakers and accredited elders of Amankrapanyin family have called on the general public, particularly the citizens of the area to disregard the reports that the Gwira Traditional Council has banned the gold mining activities of Okoben Mining Company Limited.

The Amankrapanyin family are the allodial owners of the Gwira Traditional Stool in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality of the Western Region.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, February 2, 2023, the Principal Head of the family, Nana Alu menza lll said Angama Tuagyan has his chieftaincy status challenged in Senkodi High Court and that he has not been recognized as the Paramount Chief of the Gwira Chief as far the traditions and customs of the area are concerned.

He added that the embattled chief has no chieftaincy and traditional capacity to ban Okoben Mining Company which has been mining legally and lawfully in the area for almost 25 years without violating the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (ACT 703).

He said per the traditions and customs of the area when the chief was installed, it is the prerogative of the Gwira Traditional Area to first give him chieftaincy gazette clearance forms to fill with the necessary endorsements of the registrar and some key chiefs and elders before such a chief can have the power to present the forms to the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi for final approval.

He explained that the traditional authorities through the Registrar Mr Matison have not given the embattled chief the gazette clearance forms since his chieftaincy status has been challenged.

He pointed out that Mr Mastison and Adotenhene of the area who had the traditional authorities and capacities to sign or endorse the clearance forms for the embattled chief have refused to do so with the reason that the chieftaincy status of Angama Tuagyan is questionable.

He revealed that the personal secretary of the chief and other chiefs in the area who are not legally gazetted were the chiefs who had signed the gazette clearance forms on behalf of the Gwira Traditional Council to be sent to the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi which attested to the fact that Angama Tuagyan has secured his gazette through fraudulent means.

He added that the gazette secured by Angama Tuagyan was rejected by the various accredited and principal kingmakers including the prominent chiefs in the Gwira Traditional Council.

He asserted that his chieftaincy gazette is questionable and that there is an ongoing trial at the Senkodi High Court to expunge his name from the register of the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi.

Nana Alu menza lll noted that the embattled chief even leading a delegation of the chiefs of  Gwira Traditional Area to the Jubilee House or Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Accra to make these false statements is a clear violation of the traditions, customs, and norms of the Gwira Traditional Area.

Against this background, Nana Alu menza lll urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the general public to disregard the claims by Angama Tuagyan that the traditional authorities of Gwira have banned the Okoben Mining Company Limited from mining on its gold mining concession at Dominase.

Additionally, thousands of concerned citizens and residents living in the various villages and towns in the Municipality of the Western Region are calling on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to immediately impress upon the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to set up an independent committee to probe the illegal and unlawful invasion of the legally acquired gold mining concession of Okoben Mining Company Limited at Dominase by some illegal miners.

“We are calling on you as our President to intervene and ensure that justice prevails because some galamseyers in the Western Region were arrested for committing the same offences.

“….our President must wake up now if indeed he wants to fight for illegal mining activities. We are urging our President to ensure that the illegal miners who were arrested and granted bail for unlawfully invading the gold mining concession of Okoben Mining Company Limited at Dominase should also face the full rigour of the law to serve as a deterrent to others,” the citizens appealed to President Akufo-Addo.

According to the citizens, it has emerged that there are directives from the corridors of power and Western Regional Police Command to the Axim Police District Command to release eight suspected illegal miners including a Chinese national who have been arrested by the joint team of police, National Investigations Bureau (NIB) and National Security personnel at Axim in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality.

They pointed out that the seven Ghanaians including one Chinese who have been arrested at Dominase for unlawfully invading the gold mining concessions of Okoben Mining Company Limited, the Ghanaian-owned mining company, have been granted bail and are moving on the streets of their areas.

The swoop, conducted by the Ghana Police Service in collaboration with the Bureau of National Investigation and National Security, formed part of the government’s renewed fight against illegal small-scale mining, otherwise known as galamsey.

However, the direction, according to the information available to them, warned the Axim Police District Commander to the officers of the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) of the Axim Police District Command of the Ghana Police Service to prosecute the illegal miners.

The news outlet is reliably informed that the directive from the corridor of power and Western Regional Police Command strongly warned the Axim Police District Command that it doesn’t have the power to prosecute these illegal miners and that they were new policies designed by the current government that it is only the Attorney General Department which has prerogative or constitutional right to prosecute the illegal miners.

Interestingly, they ordered the Axim Police District Command to release the eight suspected illegal miners from the police cell.

The names of leaders who employed the eight suspected illegal miners have popped up.

Two of the Ghanaians suspected of being illegal miners told the Axim Police that they were national security operatives.

The eight male miners were among hundreds of Ghanaian illegal miners including loads of foreign nationals have managed to invade the legally acquired gold mining concession of Okobeng Mining Company Limited in Dominase in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality of the Western Region.

These illegal miners who did not even have environmental permits or licenses from the government of Ghana managed to engage in large-scale gold mining activities before the owner of the concession, Nana Okoben Amponsah, got hints and quickly reported the matter to Axim Divisional Police Command.

Following the official report Nana Okoben Amponsah lodged with the police, a joint team of police, Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and National Security personnel from Axim in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality moved to the site to effect the arrest of a total of eight illegal small scale miners including one Chinese national.

The information available indicates that the illegal miners who invaded the concession were more than ten but some, predominantly foreign nationals, managed to run away at the time the national security officers stormed the site to affect their arrest.

The miners managed to indiscriminately mine gold in the concession without the knowledge of the owner of the company, Nana Okoben Amponsah.

They had also managed to clear large tracts of arable cocoa farmlands in a forest at the site of the company and tributaries of the Ankobra River had also been heavily polluted by their activities.

The team confiscated some excavators and many other heavy mining items.

These illegal miners have been sent to the Axim Divisional Police Command and are currently in police custody while the police have commissioned investigations into the matter.

Nana Okoben Amponsah expressed worry that despite the ban on illegal mining activities by the central government some unpatriotic Ghanaians are aiding foreigners to mine and destroy his gold mining concession at Dominase he lawfully and legally secured for the past 24 years ago.

“How is it possible that despite the number of caution and announcements, people still have the effrontery to be engaging in illegal mining? What worries me the most is how our own people find it convenient to collaborate with foreigners on this destruction spree.

It is very sad. But I make a solemn promise that we will not rest. If it means going after them every day, then that is exactly what we will do,” Nana Okoben Amponsah told journalists.

However, in a fact-finding mission to the Dominase where the concession of the company was located, the journalists poke the traditional authorities including the owners of the land who justified that Nana Okoben Amponsah had bought the concession from the original owners of the land in Dominase

They told the journalists that Nana Okoben Amponsah has the necessary legal documents covering the land at Dominase and that he has been paying royalties to the owners of the Dominase community periodically as it was stated in the contractual agreement with the land owners in the area.

The land owners and principal elders of Dominase have given an account of the numerous contributions that Nana Okoben Amponsah has done to the development of the lives of the people in the community and that he deserves to be commended.

They pointed out that the company has done a lot of corporate social responsibility projects and programmes to bring development to Dominase and its adjoining communities in the municipality.