Chairman of the Ashanti Regional branch of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako popularly called ‘Chairman Wontumi’ has described as ‘hypocritical’ comments by former President John Mahama on the Akufo-Addo led administration's fight against illegal mining (galamsey).
Former President John Mahama on Sunday asked the government to stop chasing illegal miners with soldiers, adding that the use of the military will not solve the problem and that the measure was tried during his tenure but failed.
“…it is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country, but it didn’t work,” Mr Mahama had said at the NDC’s unity walk in Kumasi.
However, Chairman ‘Wontumi’ speaking on SilverFM’s ‘OmanbapaShow’ with Nana Kwabena Ampratwum on Monday condemned former President Mahama’s comments as ‘ hypocrite and reckless’
“I was operating a well-registered mining company, fulfilling my tax obligations as a citizen of Ghana but Mahama deliberately ensured all sorts of means were applied to cripple my legitimate mining business when he [Mahama] was in government”
Chairman Wontumi who was the Managing Director of HANSOL Mining Limited based in the Ashanti Region in 2013 had his company ransacked by an Inter-ministerial Taskforce made up of security personnel on suspicion that the company had brought in Chinese nationals engaged in illegal mining.
Chairman Wontumi believes the action by the Taskforce was politically motivated and has negatively impacted on his finances and so ‘the former President does not qualify to criticize Akufo Addo’s administration in the fight against illegal mining (galamsey)…he is a hypocrite’
“Why is he pretending to join in the combat to end the galamsey menace at this time and not during his tenure” he fumed.
Wontumi recounted the ordeal his staff were subjected to and disclosed that the company had in its possession a lot of excavators before the presence of the taskforce at the premises of the company and its subsidiaries across the country but later only a few could be accounted for, some of which were burnt by the Taskforce.
“After this interview you can confirm some of these excavators and pick-ups being parked at the Fourth Battalion Infantry (4BN) Brigade in Kumasi”.
He made an assertion that all the embattled illegal mining(galamsey) operators were engaged in that kind of job for a livelihood but their mode of operation were not in conformity with the minerals and mining laws of the state.
Wontumi said the government is in a position to make mining more sustainable by developing and integrating practices that reduce the environmental impact of mining operations.
He therefore appealed to the President to lay down procedures that will allow licensed mining companies to mine and implement a training program to train the unskilled illegal miners (galamseyers) to make mining more environmentally sustainable.
Mark F. /silveronline24 / SilverFM