The Media Coalition against Galamsey (MCAG) has blamed the justice system in Ghana for the slow fight against illegal mining in Ghana.
According to them, the rate at which the illegal miners are prosecuted when they are arrested and the paltry fines handed to them as punishment are “unacceptable.”
Government waged a war on small-scale illegal mining, known locally as galamsey, in 2017 following pressure from the media.
All forms of small-scale mining were subsequently banned and a taskforce known as Operation Vanguard was also formed to fight the galamsey menace.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop for traditional and religious leaders on mining in Accra, convener of the Coalition, Mr. Ken Ashigbey said the justice system has to do more to prosecute illegal mining in order to help curb the menace.
“One of the major challenges we face in this fight is our justice delivery system. It is unacceptable that we had made a 1,031 arrest and out of that only about 12 percent have been convicted. Definitely, that is a major problem.”
“So we are calling on the police who are involved in the investigation, prosecutors, lawyers who go to court, we are calling on the Ministry of Interior, Chief Justice and judges, that its important that when people are arrested we go through the processes and make sure we exact the maximum punishment that is required.”
A number of Chinese nationals have been arrested in different parts of the country allegedly undertaking illegal mining activities, a situation Ken Ashigbey believes should be addressed as soon as possible.
Mr. Ashigbey said “the Chinese involvement in galamsey is real, if we don’t tackle it head-on, we are not going to succeed.”
He further urged government to tackle the issue head-on, devoid of political sentiments, or else the war against galamsey would only be an exercise in futility.
“If you play diplomacy with it, if we allow partisanship to come into this fight, we are dead,” he said.