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NO OKYENHENE TASKFORCE OF GALAMSEY

General News

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, has clarified that an environmental taskforce, set up some time ago, at the Okyenhene Palace has been disbanded three years ago and could not be the case that the task force was extorting monies from illegal miners, as contained in the leaked BNI report.

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, has clarified that an environmental taskforce, set up some time ago, at the Okyenhene Palace has been disbanded three years ago and could not be the case that the task force was extorting monies from illegal miners, as contained in the leaked BNI report.

 

A statement issued by the Minister noted that the Okyenhene Palace had rather been instrumental in the fight against galamsey.

The statement further observed that the said report by the BNI “only recorded a said perception against the Okyenhene’s Palace,” adding “it did not accuse the Okyenhene or the Palace of being complicit in illegal mining activities.”

“Checks by this Ministry indicate that the last known environmental protection taskforce from the Palace was disbanded over three (3) years ago,” the statement emphasized.

The minister’s statement is corroborated by a letter dated April 5, 2017, signed by D.M Ofori-Atta, Assistant State Secretary to the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, and addressed to the Divisional Crime Officer of Kyebi Division long before the BNI report came out.

Mr Ofori-Atta elucidated in the letter: “there is no creature, committee or sub-committee referred to as the Okyenhene Task Force.”

“In the year 2002, the Traditional Council established the Okyenhene Environmental Task Force to deal with the incidence of illegal chain saw operations.

The mandate of the Task Force was later extended to the protection of lands and river bodies with the rise in illegal mining or galamsey activities,” he said.

A 31-paged BNI report claimed that there was a perception among residents of Kibi that Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II was behind illegal mining activities in the area.

According to the report, the Okyenhene had constituted a taskforce as part of its environmental foundation that allegedly extorted monies from illegal miners in the area.

Some chiefs and elders in Adieworsu, Jumako, Abura, Tontu and Mempeasem were also cited as being at the forefront of galamsey in their various areas.

The report also named MP for Talensi, BT Baba, and a supposed NPP financier, Bunyak Kolog, better known as Polo, as engaging in the illegal mining activities.