Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, the Convener of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey (MCAG), is urging the media and civil society groups to exert pressure on leaders to ensure the prosecution of the directors of Akonta Mining Limited.
According to Dr. Ashigbey, the directors of Akonta Mining Limited have caused significant destruction to water bodies and land within their operational area, making their prosecution long overdue.
To address this issue, he is calling on civil society organizations and the media to launch a robust advocacy campaign to ensure that the directors of Akonta Mining Limited face legal consequences for their actions.
On Thursday, June 8, 2023, the MCAG had a meeting with senior officials from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) to discuss the progress of the investigation into the mining activities of Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nmira Forest Reserves.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Citi FM, Dr. Ashigbey pointed out that “there was enough evidence that Akonta Mining had sinned against the Minerals Commission. Therefore, we were expecting that after this long period, some action would have been taken, and they would have been in court by now.”
“If you take our Constitution, sovereignty resides in the people. The same Constitution also gives the media the mandate to hold leadership to account. Citi FM and other media houses, you need to make sure that the Director General of CID, the Attorney General, and the judiciary ensure that the likes of the directors of Akonta Mining and other influential people, including Aisha Huang and Yaw Danso Bosome Freho, the former District Chief Executive, are brought to book.”
The Convener of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey posited that it would be meaningless for leaders to plant trees without safeguarding the existing forests.
“It is really important that leaders take action. Today, we are out there planting trees. For example, in the case of Akonta Mining, the number of trees that have been cut down from these forests is alarming. As much as we want to plant trees, we need to ensure that we safeguard our forests, cocoa, and not support this illegality. It is important that all of us, including civil society and the media, ensure that we get leaders to do what they ought to do,” Dr. Ashigbey asserted.
MCAG sent two petitions to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, in January 2023, to carry out swift investigations into the alleged illegal mining activities by Akonta Mining, which is owned by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi-Boasiako.
The MCAG said it was informed that investigations were ongoing, but the group expressed disappointment that the directors of Akonta Mining Limited had not yet been prosecuted, despite the clear evidence of their alleged wrongdoing.