Dr. Ken Ashigbey, Convenor of the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining, believes that the government’s failure to address the galamsey threat is due to either complicity in the illegality or incompetence.

According to him, the government’s reluctance to deal firmly with important individuals identified as active participants and facilitators of galamsey in the country reflects the government’s lack of commitment to the galamsey battle.

He was specifically alluding to the recent uproar regarding Akonta Mining Limited’s actions in the Tano Nimri Forest Reserve.


The company, which is run by Bernard Antwi-Boasiako who is publicly known as Chairman Wontumi, the NPP Ashanti Regional Chairman, and one other, is reported to have been mining in the reserve despite the government’s declaration that no entry permit has been given inside the forest reserve.

While the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said that the mining firm’s activities are in blatant violation of Ghanaian legislation, no action has been taken by the state to bring the corporation and its owners to justice.

Dr. Ashigbey stated on JoyNews’ PM Express that the government’s actions and inactions on this very obvious illegality suggest that the government is actively assisting and abetting the impunity that has typified galamsey activities in the country in recent times.


“And to think that, as we speak, neither the IGP nor the Attorney General has invited Akonta Mining, who has self-avowed, you know, they have confessed that they are mining, they have confessed that they have leases, but the leases they have are not in the area where they are mining, not in the forest reserve.” And, as of now, there has been no word of an invitation to these alleged offenders to answer for their crimes.

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“And, you know, Kofi expressed all of our difficulties. Now, kidney problems are on the rise in these communities; water turbidity has risen much above what we were meant to be used to purify water for consumption, and our cocoa is under economic attack, So you have the Chinese, who are now starting to manufacture cocoa, and they are the majority of the foreigners participating in the destruction of our farmlands, but our politicians are completely unaware of it.

He stated, “They are either complicit or incompetent and in either case, they do not deserve to be where they are,” he noted.


Commenting on the acts and inactions of the district and regional authorities as the Tano Nimri forest was being destroyed, he argued that a wake-up call was needed for state officials to realize that they were killing the country.

“On the one hand, I agree with Otumfuor when he talks about keeping District Chief Executives accountable. Why would we not locate 2,000 chang fangs on the Offin River when there is a facility constructing these dredgers around 50 metres from the Nimri police station and nobody, you know, the District Police Commanders are going by and without seeing it?

“How is it possible that 12 football fields were damaged in the Tano Nimri Reserve while a Minerals Commission officer and a Forestry Commission representative were present? We really need to wake up and smell the coffee before we destroy our country.


“What’s occurring is that people are witnessing those close to power doing these things and nothing happens to them, so it’s no surprise that Erastus will see those folks on the [river] side and say, ‘Why shouldn’t they mine?'”

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“So it’s absolutely vital for all of us in Ghana to wake up and tell our leaders that they can’t keep doing this because our lives are in danger,” he noted.


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