President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has mounted a spirited defence for Akonta Mining Company Limited insisting the firm is not involved in illegal mining in the country.
Speaking at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association on Wednesday, 4th January 2023, the President reiterated: “Let me respond briefly to the chairperson on the issue of illegal mining. I want to assure him and all of you that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak.
He continued: “Further, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has through the agency of the Forestry Commission, with the assistance of the military, made the effort to cordon off all 294 sites of forest reserves in the country and rid them of illegal mining as we speak.”
President Akufo-Addo was responding to the Chairperson of the event, Ing. Ken Ashigbey who had questioned why Chairman Wontumi continues to walk a free man when he should be investigated and prosecuted.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference recently joined calls for the arrest of the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party Bernard Antwi Bosiako alias Chairman Wontumi owner of Akonta mining Limited for illegally mining in Forest reserve.
“We urge the relevant agencies responsible for the protection and preservation of our natural resources to ensure the prosecution of the financiers of activities that result in major crisis facing the country such as illegal Mining (Galamsey).
“One critical example is the call for prosecution of the owners of Akonta mining Limited, among others who have been accused by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, confirmed by the Minerals Commission and reported in the media”.
The Company was stopped from mining in the Tano Nimiri forest reserve in October 2022 by the Lands Ministry.
According to the Ministry, even though Akonta Mining Limited had a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, outside the Forest Reserve, the company had no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.
Meanwhile, Akonta Mining is under investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.