The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) has debunked media reports suggesting that the Okyenhene, Amoatia Ofori Panin II, and his palace, were mentioned in a report by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), as being behind illegal mining activities in the Kibi area.
A statement issued yesterday, and signed by the Minister, John Peter Amewu, indicated that the said BNI report only recorded a said perception against the Okyenhene’s Palace.
It added that the report 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 task force from the Palace was disbanded over three years ago.”
Media publications have reported that members of an anti-illegal mining task force, purportedly linked to the Okyenhene’s Palace, “allegedly extort monies from illegal miners in the area.”
“To the best of this Ministry’s knowledge, the Okyenhene’s Foundation has rather been at the forefront of the fight against illegal mining, and the Ministry will continue to urge the Okyenhene, his Foundation, and other traditional authorities to continue supporting this necessary fight to save the environment.”
The Ministry, in the statement, said it welcomes the support of responsible community action against illegal mining, and thanks the general public and the media for their total support and commitment to the fight against illegal mining.
Ostensibly, the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, according to a publication on citifmonline.com, said he does not condone illegal mining, otherwise known as galamsey.
In the said story, the Okyenhene is quoted as saying: “It’s either people are ignorant, or they have small minds, evil, mischievous, or playing, or they are stupid to think that I will be involved in this [galamsey].
“I grew up in Akwaita; I saw the destruction there after I came back from overseas. I saw the destruction in Tarkwa and Bogosu; I had been around this country; there is no town that we can represent and say that there was gold here and that town had benefited.”
A report by the BNI cited some prominent personalities, including politicians, both in power and opposition, actively involved in galamsey.
The report has triggered controversies amongst the chieftaincy and political landscape, as heads are crashing each other in a move to clear their names from the report.
Source: Maxwell Ofori || The Chronicle