The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Affail Monney, has said journalists at the forefront of the anti-galamsey fight got frustrated by the seeming unwillingness of the law enforcement bodies to crack the whip even after the media had risked it all to expose some of the illegal small-scale mining culprits.

“A naked truth is better than well-dressed lies”, he quoted to underpin his concession that: “The naked truth is that we slackened in the fight against galamsey and as an insider, I can say that we were frustrated by the lack of resolve or the will of our law enforcement community, by our legal regime, to deal drastically with the perpetrators of illegal mining”.

“We are human”, Mr Monney told Class91.3FM’s Eugene Bawelle on current affairs programme ‘The Watchdog’.

“Look at what Anas did”, he complained, adding: “After doing all the exposés, after journalists risking their lives, putting their lives on the line to do stories exposing the perpetrators of galamsey, some will be arrested, some will not even be arrested”.

“So, at a point, we felt we were fighting a losing battle and all the advocacy virtually came to nought”, he said.

President will not act on hearsay

President Nana Akufo-Addo recently said his fight against galamsey will not be based on hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations.

At a national dialogue on small-scale mining organised by the Minister of Land and Natural Resources in Accra on Wednesday, 14 April 2021, President Akufo-Addo, who has been criticised in the past for letting some of his appointees, who have been accused of aiding and abetting galamsey activities go scot-free, said he will only act on such whistle-blowing based on evidence.

“I’m determined to enforce the laws of illegal mining no matter the subject – high or low”, the President said.

“I’ll, however, not act on hearsay or mere allegations without more”, he noted.

However, he added: “I will not hesitate to act, though, when the evidence is hard before the police and I would do so irrespective of the standing of the person or persons involved”.

That, according to him, “is the true meaning of equality before the law”.

Mr Akufo-Addo also said: “I want to build on the modest progress made in my first term”.

“I want to learn from our shortcomings and receive productive input from this forum for purposes of enhancing the regulation of the sector”, he noted.

He said: “Out of this consultative dialogue, I hope we’ll build a national consensus around a national policy on small-scale mining”.

Hopefully, he noted, “at the end of the day, we should be able to build a broad-based national consensus around the necessity to stamp out the menace of illegal small-scale mining and the need to support and grow a responsible small-scale mining”.

National Dialogue is another talk shop

But, Mr Kofi Asante Mensah, a member, Media Coalition Against Galamsey disagreed with the hearsay comment by the President, adding that, the recently held National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining is another talk shop and waste of Ghana’s hard to found resources.

Below is the opinion piece he wrote about the speech by the President at the National Consultative Dialogue

(Galamsey) National Consultative Dialogue: Another talk shop and waste of Ghana’s hard to found resources

His Excellency the President of the Republic, William Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo address at the National Dialogue on Small Scale Mining on Wednesday April 14, 2021 is a strong admission that he is not prepared and poised to fight the “galamsey” menace.

The comment should not and must not be taking frivolously, “I am determined to enforce the laws on illegal mining no matter the subject, high or low. I will, however, not act on hearsay or mere allegations without more. I will not hesitate to act though where is hard before the police……”

The questions are: what is the president’s definition of mere allegation or hard evidence? And does the President determine the strength of any evidence or allegation before the Ghana Police Service (a suppose Independent Institution)?

The president’s speech is a declaration that, anyone with information on his officials perpetuating any illegality should better go to bed with it. What becomes of whistle blowing?

Nana Addo, then Presidential Candidate of the opposition NPP in 2012, promised to institutionalise and use the “Anas Principle” to combat corruption “the measures are going to be difficult but there has to be a variety of them, including what I consider, what I call the Anas principle. Setting up highly motivated professional groups of young people who will work if you like, undercover to unearth examples of corruption where ever they can find it. And there allow the Authority to deal with the issue, is not only to unearth the corruption but you actually deal with it, in terms of sending people to courts prosecuting them, hopefully the courts will cooperate and make sure the offenders are found guilty and sanctions appropriately enforced. So, a variety of measures, but the key one is the Anas principle…”

Mr. Akufo-Addo became successful in his presidential ambition in 2016 and when confronted with the fact that he must bring his appointees caught on camera indulging in acts of malfeasance and receiving illicit monies to book, in the Anas Aremeyaw Anas (Tiger Eye PI) undercover investigation titled “Galamsey Fraud (1)”, the President only dissolved the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) constituted to oversee the implementation of the ban on all forms of small-scale mining.

Members of the IMCIM chaired by former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, are walking freely without any independent audit of their activities including the seizure of Excavators among others.

He further, exonerated Presidential Staffer and Secretary to the IMCIM, Mr. Charles Cromwell Nanabanyin Onuawonto Bissue and other culprits.

The only punishment for Chinese national Aisha Huang known as Ghana’s Galamsey Queen was to deport her, thanks to the Accra High Court.

We had the then Senior Minister Yaw Osaafo Marfo in a widely circulated video shamelessly justifying the decision, saying “putting (Aisha Huang) in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your money problem. It is not going to make you happy or me happy”.

Considering the statement by the President, the so-called new measures to fight galamsay in Ghana is dead on arrival.

And the National Consultative Dialogue is nothing but another talk shop and waste of Ghana’s hard to found resources for Nana show boy to pursue his usual rhetoric.