A legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong, says President Nana Akufo-Addo should consider sacking officials overseeing the regulation of mining in the country following the recent scandal that has hit the sector.
Most recently, the inability of the government to account for hundreds of seized excavators has sparked allegations of state complicity in illegal mining.
Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Oppong stressed that the President should “be seen to be cracking the whip.”
In his view, given the current status quo, “there is more incentive to engage in these [illegal] activities.”
Thus the lawyer argued that if the relevant official, “does not have the conscience to resign, not because they have engaged in these activities [but have not been able to stop such activities]…then he [President Nana Akufo-Addo] should consider removing them.”
“They have not been able to or have failed…to take out some these persons and bring these matters to the appropriate state institutions for the necessary action to be taken,” he added.
In addition to the current controversy over the excavators, the Concerned Small Scale Miners Association has called for accounts of gold seized from illegal miners.
The leadership of the Association has also said it will petition President Nana Akufo-Addo to widen the probe into the alleged corruption that accompanied the crackdown on illegal mining.
It wants a probe into the whereabouts of gold that were seized from illegal small scale miners.
Action so far
So far, six persons have been arrested in connection with the missing excavators. They have all been granted bail.
The six include the suspended First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party in the Central Region, Horace 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 the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng 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 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.