Vice chairman of community mining in the Amenfi East District of the Western Region, Nana Badu Asafoakye, has called for the disbandment of Operation Vanguard and Galamstop Taskforce.
The government set up the Galamstop to support the Operation Vanguard team in fighting illegal mining popularly known as ‘galamsey’ which has desecrated large portions of the country’s rich vegetation cover and polluted water bodies.
But in his view, the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) should be given the mandate to check galamsey activities, because the two groups are undermining the president’s efforts to stop illegal mining.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting ahead of the maiden edition of the Ghana Gold Expo to be held in Sekondi Takoradi in March, Nana Badu who is also the NPP chairman for the Amenfi East constituency claimed Operation Vanguard and Galamstop have become a cash cow for security persons.
He alleged that gold seized from the illegal miners by the security personnel at these two bodies are not accounted for.
“People are building mansions and buying cars out of these operations. Now if you are a security person and you want to be part of the Operation Vanguard or Galamstop, you have to pay money (bribes) and use your ‘connections’, as is done when you want to go for peacekeeping in the Middle East,” he alleged.
“If you get to be assigned, within a few days, you build your house, within a short period, you buy your car”, he claimed.
According to Nana Badu, when Galamstop was formed, he personally advised the deputy minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio to rather concentrate on stopping the Chinese from going into mining and instead ask the small scale miners to reclaim the land they have mined as a condition to be licensed.
His suggestion, he said, was rebuffed by the minister.
“He said they had gone for some funds from Australia to reclaim the lands so that would not be necessary…Nana (paramount chief of Wassa Amenfi Traditional area, Tetrete Akuamoah Sekyi II) is my witness, the pits have been left open and people keep falling in to their death,” he said.
The Vice chairman advised that for the fight against galamsey to be successful, the responsibility should rather be given to the district assemblies, traditional leaders and opinion leaders in the mining communities as well as representatives from the small-scale miners.
“If you want to mine, you go for a permit from the district assembly where you pay a deposit. The monitoring is essential so that if the miner does not reclaim the land which will be inspected every two weeks, his deposit is used to reclaim the land,” he stated.
The Ghana Gold Expo takes place from March 8 to 10, 2020.