Kweku Baako drops dossier on Wontumi’s Akonta mining activities -pressure mounts on government to arrest him

October 11, 2022

The Company was granted a reconnaissance licence over an area of 135.87 square kilometres in Samreboi, on June 15, 2011, for a term of one year, to expire on June 2012 14. This area is outside the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.

When the reconnaissance licence expired, he was granted a prospecting licence over the same area of land, on December 31, 2012 for a term of two years to expire on December 30, 2014.

This come amid pressure on the Akufo-Addo government to arrest and prosecute the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako alias Wontumi, over his alleged involvement in illegal mining, leading to the destruction of the forest and the pollution of water bodies.

Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu is among those calling for the politician’s head. On Saturday he called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling NPP.

According to Mr Baako, “by section 41 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), the area of a mining lease cannot exceed 63 square kilometres, i.e., 300 blocks (a block is 21 hectares).

So, after the prospecting, they divided the area into three [Samreboi (44.94 sq. km), Abekoase (44.94 sq. km) and Anhuntem 45.3 sq. km), and applied for three different leases in respect of the same area they had conducted the reconnaissance and prospecting.

The Samreboi and Abekoase leases, were granted on July 23, 2022, after he paid the mineral rights fees and ground rent.

The Minerals Commission’s letter by which the lease was submitted for the Minister’s signature, clearly states that these areas are outside the Forest Reserve.

The site plans attached to the leases, also show that they do not fall within the Forest Reserve (Appendix 6 and 7)

In respect of the Anhuntem application, the lease has not been granted because the company has not paid the mineral right fees and the ground rent. That area is also outside the Forest Reserve.

Apart from these three leases, the company applied for a prospecting licence to prospect for minerals in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve and applied for a Forest Entry Permit.

It was in respect of this application that the Forestry Commission wrote to the Minerals Commission, saying although they have no objection to mining, it must be subject to the Minister’s Directive on prospecting in Forest Reserves.

The application for a prospecting licence was later withdrawn, and the company applied for a mining lease over a portion of the Forest Reserve on August 25, 2022.

The company’s application was for a 24-year lease, but the Minerals Commission advised the company to revise the mine life to 10 years.

Beyond that, the application has not yet been determined by the Minister. So currently, the company, has no mining lease to mine in the Forest, and they do not have a Forest Entry permit to enter the forest.

Speaking on Joy News’ Newsfile on Saturday, Mr Kpebu stated that he will personally lodge a complaint if the Police fail to take action.

Martin Kpebu, pointed out that he is making this move because “President Akufo-Addo has shown that for him, he will cover up all erring appointees. That is his mantra.”

“I will call Eratus that we should go, I will accompany him. If he is not willing to be complainant, I am willing, because if the Police are not willing to take in Chairman Wontumi, I will go and lodge an official complaint and be complainant in the case, so that they will start a formal investigation,” he said.

According to him, the Police have been swift in the arrest of culprits in other cases, therefore surprised by the delay in the arrest of Chairman Wontumi.

“.. Now IGP, save our day, save Ghana, rein in Wontumi…Where is IGP, can’t he go and arrest Wontumi?” he asked.

However, Chairman Wontumi, has denied reports that he is involved in illegal mining.

He insisted that his company, Akonta Mining Limited, has all the required documentation.

Speaking on Wontumi TV on Monday, Chairman Wontumi, said he is ready to make the documents available.

“I am appealing to them to use the law. They should do their investigations, and we should let the law work.”

“I have a large scale company which Akonta mining is under… All the required documents I have, I will make all available,” he added.

In the meantime, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked President Akufo-Addo to demonstrate his commitment toward the fight against ‘galamsey’ by prosecuting his officials who have been found complicit in illegal mining immediately.

National Communication Officer of the party, Sammy Gyamfi, at a press conference on Thursday, said the government is being rhetorical rather than taking action against the menace.

He said the only way government could resolve the issue is by cracking the whip on its own officials.

“Ghanaians are tired of your flowery speeches and useless rhetoric. The so-called fight against ‘galamsey’ has been a spectacular failure and the only way to salvage it is for you to man up and finally begin to crack the whip on your errant appointees and NPP functionaries who are neck-deep in the ‘galamsey’ business.

“We demand the immediate prosecution of all NPP functionaries and NPP officials who have engaged in illegal mining such as Charles Bissue, Chairman Wontumi, the evidence is clear, Andy Owusu, Ekow Ewusi, Prof. Frimpong Boateng among others,” he stated.

Written by Web Master

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