Media Coalition against illegal mining has described the fight against illegal mining, popularly known as 'galamsey' , as an ailing one.
The Convener of the group, Ken Ashigbey blames what he describes as the soft terms handed to persons arrested for illegal mining coupled with allegations of corruption against members of the task-force.
He said the activities of the Operation Vanguard team has undermined the fight.
Speaking on Citi Breakfast Show, Mr Ashigbey said the systemic failures must be addressed.
“Government together with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources came up with the multisectoral integrated project and we replaced that with an inter-ministerial taskforce which then introduced elements which were not constitutionally mandated people to really handle it which was almost like a stop gap measure. The ministerial committee took out various elements of them and tried implementing it.”
“I think that was a major failure. Another failure was also about the fact that the justice delivery system happened to be the weakest link in the whole chain because people were arrested and they were released with the tap of a finger. So I am sure that it became a demotivating factor for the people who were integrated to really fight. I am sure that at that particular time, we lost a bit of the fight”, he added.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining was set up to oversee the implementation of the ban on all forms of small scale mining and also see to the vetting of small scale miners.
The secretariat has also been hit by alleged bribery and corruption in Anas Aremeyaw Anas' expose on illegal mining.
It was commissioned in March 2017 by President Akufo-Addo to reform artisanal and small-scale mining in the country.
It was also aimed at developing a roadmap towards lifting an indefinite ban on small scale mining that lasted for about 21 months.
The team was also supposed to vet registered small scale miners in the country to streamline their operations and make recommendations to the President to lift the ban on illegal mining.
Inter-ministerial C'ttee on Illegal mining working outside its powers – Kwabena Donkor
Former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor wants the government to without delay redefine the role of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining.
According to him, the operations of the committee which have no legal backing is conflicting with that of mandated state agencies like the Minerals Commission.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor, who is a member of Parliament's Energy and Mine's Committee, questioned the basis for the Inter-Ministerial committee.
“The Inter-ministerial Committee is not cloned with any legal power. The committee was set up to be advisory but the laws in this country have cloned the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and to some extent, the Ministry of Lands with the supervisory ministries with some powers. When the President himself set up the committee, he gave them an advisory role which was right. But the elements in the Committee behave as if it is an implementation committee.”
“In my opinion, Parliament will hold the Minerals Commission, the EPA, MESTI and the Lands Ministry for every action or inaction in the mining sector. That committee has no democratic mandate and therefore there will be an accountability deficit they continue to work after the ban is lifted”, he added.