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General News of Sunday, 3 June 2018


Secret text on Amewu vindicates Starr FM reporter in Upper East

Ghanaweb has uncovered a screenshot of a text message showing what appears to be real facts a Chinese mining company in the Upper East Region does not want the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, to hear about.

Four mineworkers reportedly collapsed after inhaling a poisonous fume from a mining explosive and an underground operator nearly lost his left leg in an accident at the mines of the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited in the last week of May, 2018, in a community called Gbani in the Talensi District.

In the wake of the tragic incident, the Public Relations Officer of the company, Maxwell Wooma, sent an SMS to Starr FM’s Upper East Regional Correspondent, Edward Adeti, and Metro TV’s Upper East Regional Correspondent, Francis Dabang, after they had visited the victims at the emergency ward of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, to conceal the “accident” development from the sector minister.

“Good afternoon Sir. I have heard of your encounter with some accident victims of my company. I have been on leave but informed slenderly about the issue. Notwithstanding, I, in the name of our God, please with u to stamp it out from your list of stories to as usual, aid a brother. It is because of you I am.

“I am on my way to accra to meet the Hon Sector minister on developments in my mine. What a slap it will be to reach there seeing him fuming at me. I will do all I can to ensure safety issues are taken more seriously to protect our brothers. As usual, one for all, all for one. God help in your decision making and bless you for taking same. Regards,” he said in that SMS.

The journalists, however, reported on the mishap, carrying the concerns of the casualties who said they had been working without such protective clothing as earplugs and nose masks.

Mr. Wooma, in a rejoinder issued to Ghanaweb after the news of the misfortune had hit the air, slammed the Starr correspondent for describing the incident in a headline as a disaster. He faulted the headline as a streak of “yellow journalism” and labelled the story as a “sponsored publication” aimed at causing reputational damage to the Chinese company.

The PRO, who is said to have rendered a verbal apology to the reporter after circulating the rejoinder for his “yellow journalism” comments and unproven “sponsored publication” statement, is blaming the recent tragedy on some illegal miners he said had continued to trouble the mines.

“There have been severe incursions by the illegal miners into the underground workings of the company. Several calls have been made to the security services to help tame the incidence, all to no avail,” Mr. Wooma said.

An activist said to be championing the welfare of mineworkers in the area, Zumah Yaro Tiiroug, has been grieving about what he calls recurrent needless accidents inside the mining area occupied by Shaanxi.

“When authorities go there to investigate, the Chinese and their allies always succeed in hiding the real concerns of the poor miners from being known. They paint a false picture that all is well and our people keep dying. We have lost over 50 lives there. What sort of society is this? One way forward is just for the sector minister to interact directly with the poor miners to obtain the hidden truth,” he stated.