The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has dismissed claims that comments by President Nana Akufo-Addo, exonerating the Akonta Mining Company Limited will affect the investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Akonta Mining owned by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi-Boasiako popularly known as Chairman Wontumi has been in the news for mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western Region without recourse to the law.
President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, January 4, defended the mining firm, claiming that the company has not engaged in illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
“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 at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association in Koforidua.
The Special Prosecutor in a report on Tuesday revealed that investigations were ongoing into the activities of the mining company.
The Convener of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, Dr Ing. Ken Ashigbey also described the president’s comments as unfortunate adding that it could affect the investigations by the Special Prosecutor.
But in the President’s defence, Mr Jinapor said on Eyewitness News on Wednesday that Akufo-Addo was only talking about current happenings and not the previous activities of the company.
“He [Akufo-Addo] wasn’t speaking about the investigation, and he was not speaking about activities of Akonta Mining in the past. If the President had said that Akonta Mining had not engaged in illegal mining in the past then you could say the President is making prejudicial statements, but he was talking about the state of affairs today,” Mr Jinapor told host Umaru Sanda.
Mr Jinapor added, “the president was speaking about the state of affairs as it relates to our forest reserves and as it relates to whether or not Akonta mining is involved in illegal mining, and he was giving the assurance that they are not.”