Information available to Today indicates that some illegal Chinese small scale miners whose excavators were seized in the Atwima Kwanwoma District of the Ashanti Region have paid GH¢700,000 (seven hundred thousand Ghana Cedis) to the District Assembly for the release of their confiscated excavators.
A deep throat source at the district assembly who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity confirmed that somewhere in January this year the Atwima Kwawoma District Assembly seized 12 excavators from some illegal Chinese miners in the area and conveyed them to the district assembly.
According to the source, just few days ago, he realised that the Chinese miners had paid an amount of GH¢700,000 to the assembly for the release of the confiscated excavators.
“Some Assembly members had a meeting with the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Atwima Kwanwoma District, Nana Okyere Tawiah Antwi, Coordinating Director and District Financial Officer (DFO) and they took the said money from them.
‘’The Chinese miners paid that huge of amount of money before their excavators were released to them that I can tell you,” the source revealed.
The source, however, revealed that the illegal Chinese miners immediately conveyed the excavators back to their various mining sites in constituencies such as Nweneso No 1 and 2 and have started mining despite government’s ban on galamsey.
District Chief Executive for Atwima Kwanwoma District, Nana Okyere Tawiah Antwi, when contacted however, admitted that his outfit had indeed released the 12 excavators, which were detained months ago to the Chinese miners.
He indicated that it became necessary for the confiscated excavators to be released to the owners following the recent clash between residents of Foase and the over the district capital relocation from Foase to Twedie.
He claimed the assembly hurriedly released the excavators to allay fears of being set ablaze by the irate Foase residents, but admitted that the district assembly collected an undisclosed amount of money from the Chinese as ‘penalty.’
Speaking to some residents of Nweneso, they disclosed that some Chinese miners were still in their community doing mining seriously despite the ban against galamsey by President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
According to them, some excavators came to the community this month with police escort to various mining sites.
“We are appealing to Operation Vanguard, government to be more proactive in the fight against galamsey because we know there are some Chinese who are still operating in our community destroying our lands and rivers,” the residents stressed.
Minerals & Mining Matters
…with Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU