President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has jumped to the defence of Akonta Mining Company Limited, claiming that the firm is not engaged in illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
Akonta Mining owned by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi-Boasiako popularly known as Chairman Wontumi has been in the news for mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western Region without recourse to the law.
But speaking at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association in Koforidua, President Akufo stressed that the firm has not been involved in any wrongdoing.
“I want to assure you all that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any form of illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak,” he insisted.
The Lands Ministry had directed the Forestry Commission to ensure that the company does not carry out any operation in the forest and to take the necessary action against any person found culpable in the matter.
This was after it pronounced all activities being undertaken by the company in the Forest Reserve as illegal.
But government said, while the mining company has a lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri forest reserve.
There have been calls for the prosecution of persons running Akonta Mining Limited’s operation in the forest reserve.
In fact, the issue of the mining company is presently before the Special Prosecutor for investigation.
The Media Coalition Against Galamsey recently revived its calls for the arrest and prosecution of directors and officers of Akonta Mining Limited for their alleged involvement in the illegality.
The coalition insists there is substantial evidence to nail Akonta directors and officers.
The call comes on the back of a second petition written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo Dampare to carry out swift investigations into the alleged illegal mining activities by Akonta Mining.
Chairman Wontumi, has already denied reports he is involved in illegal mining and said he was willing to allow due process.
“I am appealing to them to use the law. They should do their investigations, and we should let the law work,” he said on his TV station, Wontumi TV.
Mr. Boasiako also responded to speculation that he is involved in illegal mining, saying, “I want to tell the public that I am not into galamsey.”