The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications and convenor of the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining, Ing. Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey has expressed reservations about the president’s defence of Akonta Mine over the firm’s alleged engagements in illegal mining activities.
Speaking at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association in Koforidua, President Akufo-Addo cleared the mining firm of 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,” the President said.
But Ing. Ashigbey in an interview on Eyewitness News said Akonta Mining’s alleged illegal mining is not up for contention.
“Some media works had been done and some reportage in the media revealed the clashes between workers of Akonta Mining and residents of the Samreboi community where the residents prevented the miners from mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve. Also the Minerals Commission which is the independent regulatory body responsible for issuing licenses also said that Akonta Mining is engaged in illegal activities and so it is worrying the president is saying Akonta Mining is not engaged in illegal mining as we speak.”
“The president may be right when he says Akonta Mining is not engaged in illegal mining activities as we speak, it may be because maybe Akonta Mining has left the forest reserve but the question we must be asking is, was the firm not in the forest sometime last year?”
He however added that it may be too early to play down the words of the president and that he will wait on the president to come out with contrary evidence to what he is currently speaking about.
“I will also give the president the benefit of the doubt that he, being the Commander-in-Chief, may have some evidence that we don’t know about because we also have evidence to the contrary that the firm was in the forest reserve mining illegally sometime last year.”
He however feared the president’s comments may have a weight on the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s investigations into the activities of the firm, but the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor downplayed such fears.
Akonta Mining which is owned by the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi-Boasiako has come under attack for illegally mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western Region.
Minerals Commission in October 2022 issued a statement to restrain Akonta Mining from prospecting for gold in the reserve for lack of license.