OccupyGhana, a pressure group, has faulted government’s approach to destroy equipment seized at illegal mining (galamsey) sites, indicating the method is an illegality that should cease.
The group also added that failure on the part of security agencies to bring persons arrested for taking part in galamsey to face the law undermines the whole exercise of fighting the illegal activity.
The group described government’s attempts to fight galamsey as “epileptic and faltering”, and claimed in a statement issued Tuesday, that the attempt “gives the impression that it is unwilling to follow and apply the law.”
The group’s position is based on the Minerals and Mining Act which provides adequate sanctions, including fines and terms of imprisonment for infractions of the law, and specifies “that equipment used in any of these offences is required to be first seized and kept in police custody. Then, when the person using the equipment for the illegal mining activity is convicted, the court will order the forfeiture of the equipment the state. Then the Minister has 60 days within which to allocate the equipment to a state institution. There is absolutely no legal room for simply torching the equipment. It is illegal and must stop forthwith.
“We think that all the efforts to end illegal mining will not achieve anything until we resolve to simply enforce the law. If the security agencies make arrests and the law is not applied, it weakens their resolve and says to all that we are not serious about ending this menace. And the judiciary should need no encouragement to try cases with dispatch so that Ghanaians can see results in real time. It cannot be business as usual.
“We have two simple messages for the government – (1) Galamsey is illegal: the fight against it cannot be based on illegality and, (2) If you want to win the fight against Galamsey, APPLY THE LAW..”