The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Illegal Mining has threatened to arrest anyone who would own up to plead for any Chinese illegal miner who would be arrested.
The Taskforce said the rate at which Ghanaians own up to plead for amicable and compromised settlements whenever a Chinese illegal miner is arrested is hampering their operations.
The Head of the Monitoring Team of the Committee, Francis Assibi Abu, gave the warning in an interview on Onua FM’s Yen Sempa on the arrests made over the weekend.
“We will be arresting those who come to intervene for those we arrest”.
He told host Bright Kwasi Asempa that between the hours of 9am and 4:30pm on Saturday, May 4, the “team conducted routine intelligence operation within the Obuasi and Watreso General Area of the Ashanti Region”.
Mr. Assibi Abu said “two Chinese were arrested on the field illegally mining and the two claimed to be working for the Odotobri Constituency 1st Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Matthew Acheampong and one Mr. Rauf who was associated with the illegal mining activities in Watreso.
The two Chinese illegal miners arrested are Zhang Zhenwu and Xie Jianhui, he mentioned.
“As usual the above mentioned names tried with many offers to the monitoring team, but they have been rejected outright and the two Chinese illegal miners are currently in custody at the Obuasi Central Police Command awaiting collection to Accra today,” Mr. Assibi Abu noted.
The Monitoring Head alleged that “Mr Rauf operates illegally at a 9-miles community within Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region whereas Mr. Matthew Acheampong who is the NPP 1st Vice Chairman for the Odotobri Constituency also operates illegally at Watreso”.
Ghanaians no more indulge in illegal mining?
Asked whether the indigenes have stopped indulging in illegal mining, Mr. Assibi Abu explained that “the Ghanaians have not stopped but they understand the situation now”.
“Because the Chinese don’t understand our language and they don’t know what is going on, the Ghanaians are now pushing them into the illegal mining and hidden behind,” he explained.
“They have adopted the approach of [the] scattered. There are likely to be more [Chinese illegal miners] at a site but they don’t move in at the same time and the same day to the same site.”
Progress in the fight against illegal mining?
Mr. Abu said with the efforts being put out there, progress is being made in the fight.
But he called for monitoring on the part of authorities after the suspects have been apprehended.
“Almost every two or three days, we come out with some of them and if indeed they are leaving the country, then indeed, we are making progress.”
He explained that “we hand them to [the Ghana] Immigration [Service] in Accra for the final process and repatriation.”