Certainly Not A Good Picture Frimpong Boateng Is Painting
Some statements have a way of making government look bad in the eyes of any right thinking person and such should not be heard from the lips of respected government appointees or officials.
One of such is the recent claim by Professor Frimpong Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation that several hundreds of excavators being used for illegal mining that were seized to curb the practice, have DISAPPEARED from the various District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies where they were being kept.
That a Minister of state, who doubles as Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining would have the courage to look Ghanaians in the eyes and boldly make such a statement that “though the excavators were seized and taken to the district assemblies, the heavy-duty machines disappeared later from the premises of the assemblies” sounds bizarre.
Heavy-duty machines vanishing into thin air? Come on Professor, you surely know Ghanaians deserve a much better explanation that what we are hearing from a whole Professor.
In the first place, it was wrong to have kept those confiscated machines at the district assemblies instead of the police station. The laws are crystal clear on such matters and compromising on best practices is what has led to this embarrassing situation.
Even more disturbing is the claim from leadership of Members of the Concerned Small Scale Miners Union of Ghana say they know the whereabouts of the excavators and that some of them are even being used for the very act of Galamsey for which they were seized.
Political and Social pressure group, OccupyGhana, has issued a statement asking very critical questions that begs for urgent answers.
The group has asked that “First, under the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act, it is illegal for anyone to “erect equipment… for the purpose of mining” without being the holder of either a mining lease or a small-scale mining license. Everyone who does this commits an offence. The government has to explain to Ghanaians whether the persons from whom the equipment was allegedly seized were also arrested. If that did not happen, the government should explain why it did not happen. Or, were the illegal miners also allowed to disappear just like the equipment?
“Second, the law then provides that upon the arrest of illegal miners, the equipment they were using “shall, regardless of the ownership…, be seized and kept in the custody of the police.” It is for very good reason that the law demands that the equipment should be kept by the police, and no other institution. The government therefore has to explain to Ghanaians why the equipment allegedly seized was kept with District Assemblies and not the police. Was this deliberate? Was this to make it very easy for the equipment to simply ‘disappear’? Did anyone take an inventory of the seized equipment and if so where is that inventory? Which public officers were responsible for flouting the law?”
Professor Frimpong Boateng and the powers that be should not be oblivious of the fact that Ghanaians are observing and it their actions certainly have political implications.