Police at Axim in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira municipality of the Western region have arrested two suspects who allegedly contracted nine Ghanaians and a Chinese to embark on illegal mining activities on the Okoben Mining Company Limited gold concession at Dominase.
The two suspects are the Chief of Ablebo, Nana Miensah, one Ramsey, who is alleged to be a National Security officer.
The names of these leaders who employed the ten suspected illegal ‘galamseyers’ including a Chinese national, came up after the ten were arrested by the joint team of police, National Investigations Bureau (NIB) and National Security personnel at Axim.
The names of the Ghanaians arrested were Paul Aboagye, Asamoah Gyan, John Yembiri, Richard Sackey and Boris Laari. Others include Kofi Bakaro, Boti Kofana, Kwame Owusu and the Chinese national, Wei Yunzhao.
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Upon their arrest on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, on the Okoben Mining Company Limited gold concession at Dominase, the suspects mentioned that the Chief of Ablebo, Nana Miensah, one Ramsey, a national security officer and one Kumah of Kedadwen, as those who brought them to the concession of the company.
Surprisingly, two of the Ghanaian suspected illegal miners told the Axim police that they were national security operatives.
The nine persons were arrested at the site were arrested yesterday.
The nine male miners were among hundreds of Ghanaian illegal miners, including loads of foreign nationals who managed to invade the legally acquired gold mining concession of Okobeng Mining Company Limited at Dominase.
These unlicensed miners used heavy mining equipment to engage in large scale illegal mining activities on the concession of Okoben Mining Company Limited on the blind side of the state mining regulatory institution in Ghana, including Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
These illegal miners who did not even have environmental permits or licenses from the government of Ghana managed to engage in large scale gold mining activities before the owner of the concession, Nana Okoben Amponsah, got hints and quickly reported the matter to the Axim Divisional Police Command.
Following the official report Nana Amponsah lodged with the police, a joint team of police, NIB and National Security personnel from Axim in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira municipality moved to the site to effect the arrest of the suspects.
The swoop, conducted by the three security agencies formed part of the government’s renewed fight against illegal mining.
Information available indicates that the illegal miners who invaded the concession were more than ten but some, predominantly the foreign nationals, managed to run way at the time the national security officers stormed the site to affect the arrest.
They had managed to clear large tracts of arable cocoa farmlands in a forest at the site of the company and tributaries of the Ankobra river had also been heavily polluted by their activities.
The team confiscated some excavators and many other heavy mining items.
These illegal miners are currently in custody of the Axim Divisional Police Command assisting the police in their investigations.
The Chief Executive Officer of Okoben Mining Company Limited, Nana Okoben Amponsah expressed worry that despite the ban on illegal mining activities by the central government some “unpatriotic” Ghanaians are aiding foreigners to mine and destroy lands whilst polluting water bodies.
He has lawfully and legally secured concession for the past 24 years.
“How is it possible that despite the number of caution and announcements, people still have the effrontery to be engaging in illegal mining? What worries me the most is how our own people find it convenient to collaborate with foreigners on this destruction spree?
He said “it is very sad. But I make a solemn promise that we will not rest. If it means going after them every day, than that it exactly what we will do.”
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|OnuaTV|Onuaonline.com