Four private citizens have petitioned the Criminal Investigation Department to investigate the issues surrounding the embattled Akonta Mining company’s alleged involvement in illegal mining.
Some Non-Governmental Organizations have also called on the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin to summon the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey over the same Akonta Mining case.
Mr Daryl Bosu, Deputy National Director of A ROCHA Ghana explained that it wants the Speaker of Parliament to intervene because of the recent happenings surrounding the Forestry Commission.
“As you know, in recent times we have had serious issues with our forest reserves as they have come under attack from mining and the sad thing we have also seen is some communications and posture from the CEO of the Forestry Commission, Mr John Allotey who in a letter that we have sited addressed to the Minerals Commission, said they have no objection to mining.
“For a commission that is set up by the constitution and mandated to protect our forest reserve it is for us, very retrogressive,” he stated.
Mr Bosu in expressing his disappointment reiterated that “to hear the CEO indicating they have no objection in the case of the forest reserve is disappointing because the things are forest reserve creation is not compatible with mineral extraction. So for a CEO to say they have no objection it is very worrying and very scary.’’
Mr Bosu building on his point added, “that is why we think Parliament who enacted the Forestry Commission Act has the opportunity to call them to order and also check on how they are exercising their powers and mandate they gave to the commission in the act that was enacted for them”.
On what to expect, Mr Bosu indicated that “I expect the CEO to be queried on why he is sitting there and allowing no objection principle and basically why he is opening the doors of the forest for mining”.
Apart from demanding that the CEO of the Forestry Commission be queried for his recent action, Mr Bosu was also dismayed at subsequent illegal mining activities that have taken place in the reserves and he pointed to that issue stating, “it is not only about this issue. It is also about the past why we have sat down aloof and watched these things happen and we need to interrogate how the CEO is exercising his mandate to protect the forest reserve of the country”.
Another partner supporting such a call, Mr Edem Senanu Co-Chair of the Citizen Against Corruption also justified why the group petitioned the Criminal Investigations Department over the same Akonta Mining issue.
“All we are asking from the CID is that there should be an investigation and prosecution of the persons behind Akonta Mining. We have done our search and established the identity two of them; the director, Mr Boasiako and one Mr Antwi. I believe, and the CID according to the law are obliged to investigate cases such as this and to report to the good people of Ghana. “
“We are expecting express actions from the CID and the police service in respect to the issue,” Mr Senanu stated.
He further explained that the group’s demand for investigation was triggered by the outright call out by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources on 30th September 2022 that Akonta Mining’s actions were illegal and had no business entering the forest. He said the Minerals Commission backed this when it said Akonta Mining did not have the locus to enter the forest to do what they were doing.
Mr Senanu also argued that “Contrary to claims made by Akonto Mining that they were just prospecting, evidence from clips showed by Multi Media’s Erastus Asare Donkor shows that what has been done is no just prospecting. In fact, the scope of work of the footage shows a clear case of illegal mining and so we think there ought to be investigations and prosecution of those culpable”.
He complained about the posture of the government towards the case. The“governments posture in this case is not reassuring. Where there is an issue of great concern to the citizenry we had leadership hobnobbing with the same individuals who have been fingered in the context of what has gone wrong”.
To him, “there appears to be a lack of sensitivity on the part of leadership because if they are really serious about the issue of illegal mining it would reflect in their messaging”.