The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu has accused sections of the Ghana Armed Forces High command of providing cover for galamsey operators in hard-hit areas.
He alleged the said military command has without authorization, deployed personnel to protect galamsey operators in parts of the Ashanti region where his team is touring.
In an interview with Citi News, John Peter Amewu called for an immediate probe into the matter.
“The law enforcement agency, especially the Military are protecting an illegality and I think that it is time the truth be told. Most of the sites we visited today were heavily manned by the military command and I was wondering under what circumstances [were they undertaking this exercise] because my outfit had under no circumstance signed any contract with the military to protect those illegality.
“We tried finding out from the Minerals Commission and the Minerals Commission has established beyond all reasonable doubt that they have never under any occasion established any contract with those military and so whoever authorised those military to be protecting the Russian and Ukranian sites, I think it is time, those people answer very important questions.
I don’t think the military will be doing those protections because they are military and of course they will be paid handsome reward for those activities they are undertaking…Until the law enforcement agencies begin to take this action seriously I don’t think there is anyway we will achieve our objective.”
Small-scale mining company shut down; Russian, Ukrainian operators arrested
Meanwhile the Minister has ordered the foreign-operated Geo Professional Services to shut down with immediate effect, following a tour of some mining sites.
The Minister has also ordered the arrest of the foreigners involved, including two Russians and two Ukrainians.
The mining firm was found to be using licenses of three local mining companies to mine at Tontokrom in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region. The company is to reclaim all disturbed lands and provide evidence to the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission of the restoration.
The company was issued with the “stop work order” by the Inspection Directorate of the Minerals Commission on May 18 but disregarded directives and continued mining.