Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor has asserted that the approach to burn excavators in government's fight against illegal mining is grounded in the constitution.

Over the period, government's approach to burn excavators seized from people found to be engaging in illegal mining has been criticized with many questioning the legal basis upon which government takes such action.

But in response to a question filed by MP for North Tongu, Okudjeto Ablakwa, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister argues that, government's action is backed by article 36 (9) of the constitution.

“Mr Speaker, I used the term decommission and I explain in my answer that decommission simply mean render the equipment in the state which they can longer be used for the illegality it is involved in, so the security service may burn, crash it down or take whatever part out of the machine. The most important thing is to demobilise it so that it can no longer be used for the illegal activity, that is the definition of decommission, how they go about it is really left to the security services”.

“I have gone a great length to establish the legal basis for the action of government but of specific important for me is to refer to article 36 (9) which state that, the state shall take appropriate measures needed to protect and safeguard the national environment for future posterity and government is taking appropriate measures in decommissioning the excavators to protect the national environment for prosperity”, he added.

Minority clash with Minister

The minority in parliament were however unhappy with Minister for Lands and Natural Resources over the legal justification for the burning of excavators

Thus, the minority in parliament and government are at variance over the legal and policy justification for the burning of excavators in the ongoing fight against illegal mining.

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwah contended that government's action has already resulted in some judgement debts against the state and he was worried that the trend will continue.

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister insisted that, he was advised by the Attorney General that the action being taken by government is within the remit of the law and also provided a number of legal backing to government's action.

He argued that, the judgement of the said case could not be generally implied as a legal defeat to government’s approach to the galamsey fight since the case was determined on a different merit and not necessarily the approach of burning excavators.