President Akufo-Addo has dissolved the Inter-Ministerial on Illegal Mining, which was set up to help the fight against illegal mining.
The Committee which was headed by the former Miniater for Science, Technology and Innovation Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng had seized to exist, ghenviornment.org can confirm.
The President has also decided to move the fight against illegal mining from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry.
Sources at the Jubilee House says the President will hold a national dialogue with all shareholders in illegal mining popularly called galamsey.
At his last state of the nation address, the President called for a collective effort in the fight against galamsey.
He said the devastating nature of illegal mining required from leaders the duty to take the subject out of the party-political arena and engage in an honest conversation about the menace for the sake of current and future generations.
“There is one subject about which I believe we, the people, need to have an open conversation, and that is galamsey. Should we allow or should we not allow galamsey, the illegal mining that leads to the pollution of our water bodies and the devastation of our landscape? he asked
He added “As I have said often, the Almighty having blessed us with considerable deposits of precious minerals, there would always be mining in Ghana. Indeed, there has always been mining in Ghana. The problem we have is the use of modern technology that leads to the illegal mining methods posing serious dangers to our water bodies and the health of our environment”.
Allegation of Corruption
The Inter-Ministerial on Illegal Mining is one of the government secretariats that came under intense criticism over allegation of corruption.
It was Ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas who in February 2019, investigated the rot at the secretariat.
In the documentary titled 'Galamsey Fraud Part 1' a presidential staffer and Secretary to the Inter- Ministerial Committee on illegal Mining (IMCIM), Charles Cromwell Bissue, was fingered in the exposé.
Bissue in the video emerged as a facilitator for a company seeking to circumvent laid down processes to be given clearance for its mining operations.
He was seen receiving wads of cash to facilitate the speedy 'clearance' of a mining company in order that it can begin mining as soon as possible, and is heard in the video instructing his subordinates over the phone to "fast track" the processing of the company’s documents.
Several others connected to the work of the IMCIM, otherwise known as the Presidential Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, were seen in the video playing "facilitating" roles at negotiated fees.
But, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service later exonerated Mr Bissue of any wrongdoing.
Missing excavators and arrest
The Chairman of IMCIM who doubles as the Minister of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng in February 2020 also came out to disclose that, most of the excavators that were seized from illegal miners had vanished.
He subsequently petitioned the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the suspended First Vice Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party, Horace Ekow Ewusi over his alleged involvement in the missing earth-moving equipment.
Ekow Ewusi was contracted by the government to cart excavators and other vehicles and pieces of equipment seized by Operation Vanguard to designated areas for safekeeping.
Six persons were arrested over the disappearance of the missing equipment and the six, including Ekow Ewusi, were charged with the offence of stealing and abetment to stealing.
But the court is yet to come out with its ruling on the matter.
It is Long Overdue
Speaking in an exclusive interview with ghenvironment.org, the Women Coordinator of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, Madam Yaa Asantewa described the dissolving of the IMCIM as long overdue.
“Why should you continue to plant a tree that is not bearing fruits? she asked, noting that, under the watch of the IMCIM, excavators got missing, some of the officials were caught on video taken bribe and protected forest reserves had almost been destroyed completely including water bodies.
She has however entreated government to involve members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners in the fight against illegal mining.