The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, has publicly denied his involvement in illegal mining within the Akyem Abuakwa area.
According to him, recent allegations by a member of the Asona Royal Family were born out of parochial interest.
“I do not think anyone can refuse me if I want to go into mining, so why do I have to hide and do it?” he queried.
The Okyenhene recently came under attack from Odehye Nana Kwame Adjei Boateng of the Asona Royal Family, who publicly accused the Okyenhene of clandestinely sponsoring the operations of illegal miners in his jurisdiction.
The accusation saw the Okyeman Council imposing a fine of 72 sheep and 36 crates of Schnapps on Odehye Boateng after he had failed to appear before the council to substantiate the allegations.
However, in a counter move, Odehye Boateng stormed the Ofori Panin Fie at Kyebi last Saturday to slaughter a sheep to signify the Okyenhene’s destoolment.
Speaking publicly for the first time on the issue at the first annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conference in Accra Wednesday, the Okyenhene blamed the security agencies and the judiciary for the escalating illegal mining in his jurisdiction, saying, “When I personally led a team of security personnel to arrest some 60 people for illegally mining in the area which had vastly contributed to the destruction of farm lands, the environment and water bodies, lack of the interest in the case by investigators and prosecutors saw the people being released without any charges, thus paving way for continuous illegal operations.”
According to him, the Minerals Commission, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources or the Chamber of Mines could refuse him permit in the event that he decided to venture in that direction.
Citing the recent occurrence at the Elmina beach where scores of miners had thronged scavenging for gold, the Okyenhene said it clearly showed the citizenry’s disregard for rule of law and the protection of the environment.
He stated that reports of gold dealers invading the beach area with luxurious vehicles to purchase gold from the locals and information that people were clandestinely mining in the Benya Lagoon ought to be halted immediately.
He said his desire to ensure environmental sustainability and the protection of natural resources had seen him wage a relentless war against such illegalities that tended to totally deplete the country’s natural resources.
Source: Della Russel Ocloo
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