The foreigners who were arrested for engaging in illegal mining activities on Monday applied for protection under the former Minister of Defence, Ben Kumbour.
The Member of Parliament for Manso Adubia, Yaw Frimpong who made this revelation on the Citi Breakfast Show said: “I have made enquiries from the former Minister of Defence , Benjamin Kumbour and he said they applied for protection. I did not agree with him initially but later I felt that maybe the government takes some taxes from them so they would want to protect them.”
On Monday the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu ordered the arrest of the four foreign nationals, two Ukrainians and Russians for flouting the mining laws of the country.”The firm is said to have mined 500 acres of land instead of 75 acres originally permitted them by the Minerals Commission at Tontokrom in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region.
The MP, who was not enthused about the development, also criticized the Military’s decision to offer protection, saying “Why would they protect them because it is a private enterprise …there is something fundamentally wrong.”
According to Mr. Frimpong, “the guys [involved in Galamsey] have been there for the past 25 years or so and whatever they have done in those years have been an illegal activity.”
Proffering effective measures to deal with the problem, the MP suggested that residents in various communities where the menace is rife should be empowered to oppose such activities.
“This menace we are fighting is a very comprehensive approach. Not to downplay whatever Minister Amewu is doing but I can tell you that immediately he moves from one site to the other site, Galamsey people will continue. The solution lies with the communities where these activities are taking place because a few people benefit from these activities. Most of those people are poor. Go there and you will see real poverty so the people are angry. If you go and organise people there they themselves will become the vigilante. We should empower the communities. Let the solution be a bottom- down approach and not a top-down approach.”
This revelation comes a day after Mr. Amewu accused some personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces High command of providing cover for Galamsey operators in hard-hit areas.