Illegal miners accuse NPP Chair of extorting moneys from them



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Some group of Small-Scale miners at Anwia, near Nkroful in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region has accused the Constituency Chairman of Ellembelle New Patriotic Party, Samuel Akainyah, Alias Chairman Attito, the Constituency Secretary, John Nwolley and five others of failing to assist them secure mining permit after collecting huge sums of money from them.

According to the group, since October last year when they started exploiting the land, Chairman Attito and the other executives came to them and demanded 10,000 Ghana cedis each from the seven gangs operating at the site at that time, to protect them from arrest and process their documents to regularise their operations.

This according them, convinced them to agree to their terms because they do not want anybody to harass and chase them from the site.

However, On Monday March 9, 2020, the District Chief Executive of Ellembelle, Hon. Kwesi Bonzo after noticing the operations of the group, led the police and other security personnel to the site and arrested six suspects and detained them at Essiama Police station, and also seized their machines found at the site including five excavators.

Briefing the media at a press conference over the weekend at the site, the leader of the group Kofi Akpalo explained that they began operations along the River Subri at Anwia near Nkroful in October last year and later other gangs also joined them to exploit gold ore.

He explained that Chairman Attito and his team came to them and assured them of full protection and promised to process their documents to regularise their operations to enable them participate in the government community mining programme.

Mr. Akakpo indicated that Chairman Attito and his team go to the site every two weeks to collect 10,000 cedis from each of the seven gangs operating in the site whiles none of the promises made to them had been fulfilled, leading to their arrest by the DCE about three weeks ago.

Before we were released from police custody, we called Chairman Attito and the secretary and informed them about the arrest and also told them to bail us. In the following day the constituency secretary John Nwolley called to demand 30,000 Ghana cedis from us to secure our bail which we declined.

We asked him about what they have been doing with the 70,000 Ghana cedis we have been given them every two weeks since we started operations in October last year.

The DCE after our released from the police custody told us to go back and reclaimed the degraded land and until we do that, there is no way our documents would be processed to allow us to participate in the community mining programme.

Mr. Akakpo also said that, the five excavators that were seized was released back to them to use it to reclaim the devastated land.

Napoleon Tandoh, a miner who was part of Small-Scale miners who were trained by government at University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) at Tarkwa assured the authorities to reclaim the land and comply with the regulations regarding the community mining programme.

“We have petitioned the DCE and the police to allow us reclaim the degraded area to allow River Subri to flow. We had never engaged in any conversation with the DCE in any mining activities before our arrest in this area, Mr. Tandoh stressed.

He disclosed that the DCE has however given them one month to reclaim the land and after that he can help them secure license to mine responsibly.

He therefore, added that they are going to employ 3,000 people, if their operations are regularized and legalized.

Atinka TV several attempts to get Chairman Attito to speak on the matter has proven futile.

 

Source: Ghana | Atinkaoanline.com | Matthew Dadzie