Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has offered an explanation for President Akufo-Addo’s comment about Akonta Mining Limited.
Akonta Mining is owned by Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Bernard Antwi-Bosiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi.
The firm has been accused of mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western Region illegally.
The Lands Ministry had directed the Forestry Commission to ensure the company doesn’t carry out any operation in the forest.
It also asked the Commission to take the necessary action against any person found culpable. This was after it pronounced all activities being undertaken by the company in the Forest Reserve as illegal.
Government said the company only had a lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi. It however added that it did not have mineral right to undertake any operation in the Tano Nimiri forest reserve.
But President Akufo has stated firmly that the company is not engaged in illegal mining.
He spoke at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association.
“I want to assure you all that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any form of illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak,” he stated.
The President’s comment has ruffled feathers with critics suggesting that it will jeopardize investigations into the company’s activities by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
But the Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said on Citi FM that the President’s comment is not prejudicial.
He said the President was specifically referring to the present, and not the past activities of Akonta Mining.
“He [Akufo-Addo] wasn’t speaking about the investigation, and he was not speaking about activities of Akonta Mining in the past. If the President had said that Akonta Mining had not engaged in illegal mining in the past then you could say the President is making prejudicial statements, but he was talking about the state of affairs today,” Mr Jinapor told host Umaru Sanda.
“The president was speaking about the state of affairs as it relates to our forest reserves and as it relates to whether or not Akonta mining is involved in illegal mining, and he was giving the assurance that they are not.”