The National Communications Officer for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi has said government’s fight against galamsey was only a sham aimed at helping top officials of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to amass wealth.
He indicated that the fight against galamsey, which was expected to yield positive results, had rather led to some challenges including loss of lives.
“We supported them in the hope that this fight will succeed. Today, we know the fight has failed because in actual fact it is only a grand scheme to allow NPP officials appropriate the galamsey trade for themselves. That is why today, these ounces of gold from galamseyers are being sold by members of Galamstop and Operation Vanguard.”
“That is why today, these weapons from illegal miners are being sold. These excavators have suddenly developed wings and have been flown away. The taxpayers’ money is being wasted. Lives have been lost. Excavators have been burnt. Livelihoods have been destroyed for nothing because from day one, this fight against galamsey was nothing but a sham. It was 419. It was only a ploy to allow top officials of the NPP and government take over the galamsey business.”
Buabeng Asamoah’s claim unfortunate
He made these comments in response to Communications Director for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Yaw Buaben Asamoa’s claim suggesting that the Minority’s call for the arrest of the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng for his alleged role in the disappearance of some seized excavators was baseless.
Mr. Gyamfi said it was disgraceful that Mr. Asamoa made those claims.
“It is disgraceful and shameful for the Communications Director for the NPP to attempt this baseless rationalization in a bid to defend the indefensible…”
Arrests so far
So far, six persons have been arrested in connection with the missing excavators and since granted bail.
The six, include the suspended First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party in the Central Region, Ekow Ewusi.
They have been cautioned with the offence of stealing and abetment to stealing.
According to the CID, the five others arrested individuals are alleged accomplices of Ekow Ewusi, who was contracted to take custody of the seized equipment.
The controversy began when Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister said most of the excavators that were seized from illegal miners had vanished.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng subsequently wrote a letter to the Police CID to investigate Horace Ekow Ewusi, suspended First Vice Chairman of the governing NPP, over his alleged involvement in the missing earth-moving equipment.
Ekow Ewusi was contracted by the government to cart excavators and other vehicles and pieces of equipment seized by the anti-illegal mining task force to designated areas for safekeeping.
The government has faced criticism for its purported negligence in the matter with the leader of the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining, Ken Ashigbey, chiding it for failing to devise stringent measures to ensure the safety of the excavators.