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Task Force Against Illegal Mining Refutes Allegations   
 
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14-Jun-2013  
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Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini
 
 
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The Inter-Ministerial Task Force against Illegal Small-scale Mining says it has not received any official petition or complaint of excesses by its national security task force in the war against illegal small-scale mining.

The Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, therefore, challenged anyone with evidence of excesses committed by the national security task force to present it for action to be taken.

The Inter-Ministerial Task Force will not remove its eyes from the ball. We are focused on ensuring that they are removed. These media reports will not divert our attention, he told the Daily Graphic yesterday via telephone from London.

The national security task force, under the auspices of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force against small-scale mining, has been lauded by the public for its tenacious operations to flush out illegal small-scale miners across the country.

ACCUSATION

However, some small-scale mining operators, particularly Hansol Company Limited, have accused members of the security task force of burning their excavators, destroying some other equipment and stealing their property.

MINISTERs RESPONSE

But Alhaji Fuseini, who is also the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, categorically denied the allegations, saying the directive by the President was to seize the equipment used by the illegal miners, not destroy them.

It will come to me as a shock and surprise if the equipment seized is destroyed, he said, adding that he could not fathom how a dredging machine sitting on a river and containing a lot of oil would be destroyed to further pollute the water body.

Alhaji Fuseini said the attention of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force had been drawn to a news conference organised by Hansol recently, during which it levelled some of those allegations against the task force.

He challenged Hansol to buttress its allegations with evidence for the necessary action to be taken.

The minister said as a mine support company, Hansol did not have the licence to engage in mining activities, adding that in providing support services for small-scale mining companies, Hansol ought to ensure that those companies operated legally.

He said what the task force had targeted for destruction was the criminal infrastructure of illegal miners in respect of make-shift structures and the camps they had built.

BRIBERY

With respect to bribery allegations levelled by Hansol against some district chief executives (DCEs), he said the National Security was investigating those issues.

Alhaji Fuseini said so far, 89 excavators belonging to illegal small-scale miners had been seized by the task force, adding that all the seized equipment was to be kept at a designated place, while awaiting further directive as to what should be done to them.

He said the seizure of equipment was guided by law and gave an assurance that the task force would account for every aspect of the anti-galamsey operation.

He said the task force had recruited 20 machine operators to undertake a reclamation of the lands destroyed by the illegal small-scale miners.

When asked about the cost involved in the anti-galamsey crusade and the source of funding, the minister said the cost was being borne by various stakeholders, including the Minerals Commission, the Forestry Commission, the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Alhaji Fuseini said the task force had mobilised GH330,000 from those partners, out of which GHc300,000 had been disbursed so far.

CHINESE PROTESTS

Last Friday, hundreds of residents of the Shanglin County in China took to the streets to demand the help of the Chinese government for their relatives in Ghana who had been caught up in the clampdown on illegal small-scale miners.

The protesters served notice to carry their concerns to the capital of the autonomous region of Nanning in due course and the growing protestations in China have raised fears of reprisals against Ghanaians living in the worlds most populous country.

Responding to those concerns, Alhaji Fuseini said nobody had been brutalised, manhandled or had their human rights infringed upon in the anti-galamsey exercise.

He said the Inter-Ministerial Task Force was alive to the requisite international laws in the discharge of its mandate.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
 
 

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