A measure to minimize the mess and menace of illegal mining in the motherland is being undermined by men mandated to manage the menace, leaving Ghana at the mercy of mercenary miners and monstrous money-grabbers within the corridors of power.
When President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government took pragmatic steps to clean the mining sector by placing a ban on illegal mining, restoring hope to many Ghanaians who care about the environment, little did we know that some of the very people entrusted with enforcing the ban will turn round to undermine it.
As the war on galamsey was declared, government decided to give a clear picture of the scope and duration of the intervention. It, therefore, set up the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to implement the two-year road map.
While the Committee has received plaudits in some quarters for a good job done so far, some complaints have also been heard over time about underhand dealings involving officials in charge at the IMCIM who allegedly take bribes to allow people circumvent the rules of the roadmap. In fact, some claim that one could be allowed to go on the field with excavators to mine without proper documentation and approval as prescribed by the Road Map. It is also alleged that some powerful people close to, or within the IMCIM could arrange protection for people engaged in illegal mining.
To ascertain the truth, we set out with our hidden cameras and the Crusading Guide hereby brings you documentary evidence about events that happened right at the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining offices near the Flagstaff House.
“School Boy”, as he’s widely known; a police officer in charge of the National Security at the IMCIM, was one of the people we spoke to.
We told School Boy that we were illegal miners who are already on site working. We therefore needed any assistance that would enable us to continue mining without any harassment. The officer asked us to see a guy at the GRA who, according to him, could fast-track the preparation for our company’s registration documents. He, however, asked us to come back the following day, if the contact at GRA failed to help us. This was after School Boy has received a ‘cool’ GH¢ 500 for his help.
Without going to see the GRA officer as directed by School Boy, we went back to him (school Boy) the following day with a new request. “We have a new ‘concession’ and wanted to go ahead and mine without any interference and the hustle of acquiring any licenses.” Once again, School Boy recommended another person to us; an IMCIM Task Force personnel by name Kobby. According to School Boy, Kobby could be trusted with the protection of my concession to ward off attempts by the other IMCIM Task Forces from disturbing my mining activities.
“School Boy” said he was recommending Kobby to us because he (School Boy) can’t always be physically present on site or guarantee that he could be deployed to our area of operation even if he was selected to go on an operation with the Task Force. He added that Kobby is connected to Prof Frimpong Boateng, the sector Minister, which makes it easier for him to protect my concession with little or no troubles. For connecting us to Kkobby, School Boy demanded and took GHS 500.
The said Kobby, by the way, is a kingpin in the anti-galamsey operations of the IMCIM. It was he who led the highly successful operation at Diaso, in the Amansie West District which led to the arrest of some Chinese nationals and the seizure of about 18 mining vehicles on the day of our meeting, February 12, 2019. When we met him, he readily agreed to help protect our concession to enable us mine without documents. He only demanded to know the exact location of our concession so he could track our excavators. The rest, he said, will be a matter of phone calls.
He, however, asked to be paid after the job as he took GHS 1000 from me on our first meeting in School Boy’s office at the IMCIM premises.