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Opinions of Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Could Ghana's illegal gold miners evolve into Allies of Global Terrorist Organisations?

By Kofi Thompson

There is no question that illegal gold miners are a real threat to
national security in our homeland Ghana. Ditto illegal loggers and
illegal sand-winners.

That is why the wealthy criminal syndicates that sponsor the
activities of illegal gold miners - as well as illegal loggers and
illegal sand-winners - across the country, need to be monitored
closely, by the leaderships of all the security agencies.

For example, if it is not checked, the pollution of the drinking-water
sources of so many economically vulnerable communities, across vast
swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, by illegal gold miners, could
create humanitarian crises all over rural Ghana.

That is a potentially dangerous situation, which will doubtless not
bode well for the long-term stability of our nation - as it will
directly affect the quality of life of millions of our people.

Has the time not therefore come for all the political parties in
Ghana, and members of our political class (from across the spectrum),
to focus on the protection and preservation of what is left of our
nation's natural heritage - particularly at a time when global climate
change is negatively impacting Ghana and the rest of the nations in
the African continent?

The worst aspect of illegal gold mining, in Ghana, today, is that
most of it is sponsored by super-wealthy criminals, who have become
emboldened because they have errant members of the security agencies,
dishonest officials from the regulatory bodies (both at district and
national levels) and rogue politicians, all on their
off-ledger-payrolls.

Is that not dangerous for the long-term stability of our homeland
Ghana, I ask? Every Ghanaian who cares about the well-being of this
nation, and all its people - including present and future generations
- must stand up against the rich criminals behind illegal gold
mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, across Ghana.

We all need to clearly understand that the wealthy criminals profiting
from unlawful and environmentally destructive activities such as
illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, could
eventually undermine Ghana's stability - if they are not dealt with
effectively today.

In light of that latent threat they pose to Ghana's long-term
stability, our ruling elites need to learn valuable lessons from the
civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, before the situation here gets
out of hand too.

They must always remember that it was the rape of natural resources,
such as diamonds and timber, by callous people driven by unfathomable
greed, which fueled the brutal civil wars in those two sister West
African nations of ours, for so many years.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing up-close, illegal gold
miners destroying forestland that has evolved over millions of years,
which provide valuable ecosystem services for many communities across
the nation, will not hesitate to condemn the present regulatory
system that grants permits to small-scale gold miners.

How can so-called small-scale gold miners, be permitted to deploy
32-tonne excavators - which on the ground allow them to mine on an
industrial scale - and still be expected to follow the rules and stick
to mining just 25 acres, once they obtain permits from regulators?
Amazing.

Clearly, that is not realistic: Not when they simply bribe officials
sent to monitor their activities at mining sites, when concerned
opinion leaders in affected rural communities lodge official
complaints against illegal gold miners at district police commands,
and petition officials at district-level offices of the regulatory
bodies, as and when infractions of the Mining Act occur.

A case study that illustrates the point made above, perfectly,
reveals the myraid of egregious infractions of the Mining Act by
Hagnela Mining Company Limited, and its super-ruthless assigns, at
Akyem Juaso.

There, private freehold heavily-wooded forestland - which has not
been given out officialy as a gold concession by the Minerals
Commission and happens to be far away from the area officially
designated a concession for small-scale gold miners - is being
unlawfully destroyed with total impunity.

The criminals destroying that incredibly beautiful forestland, boast
openly, that no one in Ghana can stop them - because they are prepared
to bribe every official sent to stop them from mining gold in what is
part of my family's freehold 14 square mile forestland, which they
apparently claim to have paid my cousin, Kwame Thompson, and our
former overseer, John Awuku (aka "Red"), to mine gold on.

What escapes those greedy fools, and all those they claim to have paid
bribes to, is that the GPS coordinates of the area in question,
exposes them, and points to the fact that the documents they have been
bandying about and deceiving officialdom with, are all fake ones.

Furtheremore, the Anyiman District Police Command ought to know - if
it does not already know it - that no private landowner is allowed to
give out his or her land to third parties to mine gold on in this
country: as that power only lies with the Minerals Commission.

Consequently, the mere fact that the dishonest Kwame Thompson has a
stake as a beneficiary in what is actually still legally part of the
estate of the late P. E. Thompson, to which he does not have
individual title to, cannot, and should not be used as an excuse by
the Ghana Police Service not to arrest and prosecute him, Red, Rasta
of Hagnela Mining Company, and his arrogant assigns.

In the meantime, as officialdom drags its feet, the brutal gang-rape
of what is part of a designated Globally Significant Biodiversity Area
(GDBA), which has been owned by my family as a registered freehold
forestland in the name of P. E. Thompson, since 1921, from the British
colonial era, goes on with impunity. Incredible.

That abomination - made possible by the thoroughly dishonest Kwame
Thompson and John Awuku "Red," who I gather have apparently taken
money from the CEO of Hagnella Mining Company Limited, and that
company's assigns - is simply intolerable.

How can such lawlessness be allowed in a democratic nation in which
the rule of law is said to prevail? What green investor will invest in
a society in which rich criminals can get away with destroying
forestland they want to turn into ecotourism destinations to give
local people sustainable futures?

Incredibly, as we speak, I have actually petitioned the head of the
BNI, the Director General of the CID, the Minister for Lands and
Natural Resources, and the head of the Minerals Commisson - all of
whom have dutifully sent investigators to the area in question.

Readers can better appreciate the magnitude of the travesty going on
there, by looking at photographs of the area in question, if they
google and visit the "Akyem Juaso Nature-Resource Reserve Facebook
page".

Unfortunately, it has not yet dawned on any of those officials sent to
investigate the infractions of the Mining Act - despite my
protestations - that on the ground, in the real world, the said
illegalities are actually occuring outside the officially designated
area, allotted (and indicated on the Minerals Commission's cadestral
map) to small-scale gold miners as a concession. But I digress.

The fact of the matter, is that their utter ruthlessness, total
disregard for the laws of Ghana, and willingness to bribe public
officials sent to stop their activities, have combined to make the
wealthy criminal syndicates behind most of the illegal gold mining
that goes on in this country, a law unto themselves. Literally.

Yet, potentially, they could become allies of global terrorist
organisations - which, as we are all aware, are always on the lookout
for new sources of funds: to enable them extend their global
footprint.

If our nation's political class understood that illegal gold miners
could easily evolve into allies of global terrorist organisations,
perhaps they would take the security threat illegal gold miners pose
to our nation, far more seriously, than they currently do.

Above all, instead of throwing up their arms in despair, over their
continued inability to stop those behind illegal gold mining in our
country, the authorities should rather collaborate with local
environmental activists, to stop all those in their communities who
engage in illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal
sand-winning.

For the sake of future generations of our people, illegal gold mining
needs to be tackled effectively now - lest we end up with a situation
in which global terrorist groups co-opt the criminal syndicates behind
most of the illegal gold mining in Ghana: to enable them generate cash
to fund terrorism across West Africa.

If current trends continue, this blog confidently predicts that the
takeover of illegal gold mining in Ghana by terrorist organisations,
will come to pass in the not too distant future, as sure as day
follows night.

Those in charge of the regulatory bodies overseeing gold mining in
Ghana must sit up: today society may be contending with foreigners
driven merely by unfathomable greed. But tomorrow those foreigners
weill ve determined terrorists with an agenda of their own.

What ought to dawn on officialdom is that the wealthy criminals behind
most of the illegal gold mining in Ghana, today, who get away with
defying officials on the ground, in illegal gold mining sites across
the Ghanaian countryside, could actually evolve into local allies of
global terrorist groups.

Surely, all the relevant mining sector public officials who regulate
mining in Ghana, have a moral obligation not to allow that to ever
happen? Hmm, Ghana eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.






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llies Of Global Terrorist Organisations?

By Kofi Thompson

There is no question that illegal gold miners are a real threat to
national security in our homeland Ghana. Ditto illegal loggers and
illegal sand-winners.

That is why the wealthy criminal syndicates that sponsor the
activities of illegal gold miners - as well as illegal loggers and
illegal sand-winners - across the country, need to be monitored
closely, by the leaderships of all the security agencies.

For example, if it is not checked, the pollution of the drinking-water
sources of so many economically vulnerable communities, across vast
swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, could potentially create
humanitarian crises all over rural Ghana.

That is a potentially dangerous situation, which will doubtless not
bode well, for the long-term stability of our nation - as it will
directly affect the quality of life of millions of our people.

Has the time not therefore come for all the political parties in
Ghana, and members of our political class, from across the spectrum,
to focus on the protection and preservation, of what is left of our
nation's natural heritage - particularly at a time when global climate
change is negatively impacting Ghana and the rest of the nations in
the African continent?

The worst aspect of illegal gold mining in Ghana, today, is that most
of it is sponsored by super-wealthy criminals, who have become
emboldened, because they have errant members of the security agencies,
dishonest officials from the regulatory bodies (both at district and
national levels) and rogue politicians, all on their
off-ledger-payrolls.

Is that not dangerous for the long-term stability of our homeland
Ghana, I ask? Every Ghanaian who cares about the well-being of this
nation, and all its people - including this and future generations -
must stand up against the rich criminals behind illegal gold mining,
illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, across Ghana.

We all need to clearly understand that the wealthy criminals profiting
from unlawful and environmentally destructive activities such as
illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning, could
eventually undermine Ghana's stability - if they are not dealt with
effectively today.

In light of that latent threat they pose to Ghana's long-term
stability, our ruling elites need to learn valuable lessons from the
civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, before the situation here gets
out of hand too.

They must always remember that it was the rape of natural resources
such as diamonds and timber, by callous people driven by unfathomable
greed, which fueled the brutal civil wars in those two sister West
African nations of ours for so many years.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing up-close, illegal gold
miners destroying forestland that has evolved over millions of years,
which provides valuable ecosystem services for millions across the
nation, will not hesitate to condemn the present regulatory system
that grants permits to small-scale gold miners.

How can so-called small-scale gold miners, permitted to deploy even
32-tonne excavators - which on the ground allow them to mine on an
industrial scale - be expected to follow the rules and stick to mining
just 25 acres, once they obtain permits from regulators? Amazing.

Clearly, that is not realistic: Not when they simply bribe officials
sent to monitor their activities at mining sites, when concerned
opinion leaders in affected rural communities lodge official
complaints against illegal gold miners, at district police commands
and petition district-level offices of the regulatory bodies, as and
when infractions of the Mining Act occur.

A case study that illustrates that point made above perfectly, are
the myraid of egregious infractions of the Mining Act, by Hagnela
Mining Company Limited, and its super-ruthless assigns, at Akyem
Juaso.

There, private freehold heavily-wooded forestland - which has not
been given out officialy as a gold concession by the Minerals
Commission and happens to be far away from an area officially
designated a concession for small-scale gold miners - is being
unlawfully destroyed with total impunity.

The criminals destroying that incredibly beautiful forestland, boast
openly, that no one in Ghana can stop them - because they are prepared
to bribe every official sent to stop them from mining gold in what is
part of my family's freehold 14 square mile forestland, which they
apparently claim to have paid my cousin, Kwame Thompson, and our
former overseer, John Awuku (aka "Red"), to mine gold on.

What escapes those greedy fools, and all those they claim to have paid
bribes to, is that the GPS coordinates of the area in question,
exposes them, and points to the fact that the documents they have been
bandying about and deceiving officialdom with are all fake ones.

Furtheremore, the Anyiman District Police Command ought to know - if
it does not already know it - that no private landowner is allowed to
give out his or her land to third parties to mine gold on in this
country: as that power only lies with the Minerals Commission.

Therefore the fact that the dishonest Kwame Thompson has a stake as a
beneficiary in what is actually still legally part of the estate of
the late P. E. Thompson, to which he does not have individual title
to, cannot, and should not be used as an excuse by the Ghana Police
Service not to arrest and prosecute him, Red, Rasta of Hagnela Mining
Company, and his arrogant assigns.

In the meantime, as officialdom drags its feet, the brutal gang-rape
of what is part of a designated Globally Significant Biodiversity Area
(GDBA), which has been owned by my family as a registered freehold
forestland in the name of P. E. Thompson, since 1921, from the British
colonial era, goes on with impunity. Incredible.

That abomination - made possible by the thoroughly dishonest Kwame
Thompson and John Awuku "Red," who I gather have apparently taken
money from the CEO of Hagnella Mining Company Limited, and that
company's assigns - is simply intolerable.

How can such lawlessness be allowed in a democratic nation in which
the rule of law is said to prevail?

Yet, as we speak, I have actually petitioned the head of the BNI, the
Director General of the CID, the Minister for Lands and Natural
Resources, and the head of the Minerals Commisson - all of whom have
dutifully sent investigators to the area in question.

Readers can better appreciate the magnitude of the travesty going on
there, by looking at photographs of the area in question, if they
google and visit the "Akyem Juaso Nature-Resource Reserve Facebook
page".

Unfortunately, it has not yet dawned on any of those officials sent to
investigate the infractions of the Mining Act - despite my
protestations - that on the ground, in the real world, the said
illegalities are actually occuring outside the officially designated
area, allotted on the Minerals Commission's cadestral map, to
small-scale gold miners as a concession. But I digress.

The fact of the matter, is that their utter ruthlessness, total
disregard for the laws of Ghana, and willingness to bribe public
officials sent to stop their activities, have combined to make the
wealthy criminal syndicates behind most of the illegal gold mining
that goes on in this country, a law unto themselves. Literally.

Yet, potentially, they could become allies of global terrorist
organisations - which, as we are all aware, are always on the lookout
for new sources of funds: to enable them extend their global
footprint.

If our nation's political class understood that illegal gold miners
could easily evolve into allies of global terrorist organisations,
perhaps they would take the security threat illegal gold miners pose
to our nation, far more seriously, than they currently do.

Above all, instead of throwing up their arms in despair, over their
continued inability to stop those behind illegal gold mining in our
country, the authorities should rather collaborate with local
environmental activists, to stop all those in their communities who
engage in illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal
sand-winning.

For the sake of future generations of our people, illegal gold mining
needs to be tackled effectively now - lest we end up with a situation
in which global terrorist groups co-opt the criminal syndicates behind
most of the illegal gold mining in Ghana: to enable them generate cash
to fund terrorism across West Africa.

If current trends continue, this blog confidently predicts that the
takeover of illegal gold mining in Ghana by terrorist organisations,
will come to pass in the not too distant future, as sure as day
follows night.

Those in charge of the regulatory bodies overseeing gold mining in
Ghana must sit up: the wealthy criminals behind most of the illegal
gold mining in Ghana, who get away with defying officials on the
ground, in illegal gold mining sites across Ghana, could actually
evolve into local allies of global terrorist groups.

Surely, they have a moral obligation, not to allow that to ever
happen? Hmm, Ghana eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.