We have not taken bribes to promote galamsey in Ellembelle – NPP execs
The Executives of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ellembelle Constituency in the Western region, have denied ever receiving bribes from illegal small scale miners in the area.
The denial comes after a group of illegal miners plying their illegal trade in Teleku-Bokazo and Anwia accused executives of the party of collecting GHS10, 000 bribe from them every two weeks under the pretext of protecting them against arrest by members of the Operation Vanguard taskforce.
The group made the allegation at a press conference after their activities were exposed by The Chronicle. A statement released by the Constituency Executives and signed by the Chairman, Samuel Akainya and Secretary, John Nwolley however refuted the allegation levelled against the party Executives.
The Executives in a statement copied to The Chronicle stated, “We want to state without a shred of equivocation that the Constituency Executives have never collected any money from any galamseyer for the alleged purpose or ever been involved in any illegal small-scale mining activity (galamsey) in the constituency as sheepishly alleged by the galamseyers and their guardian angel.”
Below is the full statement
RESPONSES FROM ELLEMBELLE NPP CONSTITUENCY EXECUTIVES TO A PRESS CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY ILLEGAL MINERS (GALAMSEYERS) IN THE DISTRICT
On Monday 23rd March, a group of galamseyers addressed a press conference at which they leveled a series of ungrounded and unsubstantiated allegations against the constituency executives and a drone pilot. They sought among others to mislead that the constituency executives and a drone pilot collect GHC10K every 2 weeks from them under the pretence of protecting them from operation vanguard and other forms of threats.
We want to state without a shred of equivocation that, the Constituency Executives have never collected any money from any galamseyer for the alleged purpose or ever been involved in any illegal small-scale mining activity (galamsey) in the constituency as sheepishly alleged by the galamseyers and their guardian angel.
The allegations are absurd, shallow and a fabrication meant to deceive and shield their guardian angel (Ellembelle DCE-Kwasi Bonzo) who is neck deep in the galamsey activities in the district with them hence their plan of waging such vicious media war to deter the efforts of the constituency executives and chiefs who have declared a war against galamsey in the district.
The Constituency Executives noticed the presence of these galamseyers in the district last year upon several complains from party faithful and chiefs from the affected communities over the extensive destruction of lands and water bodies. The executives then drew the attention of the District Chief Executive (DCE) to expedite action to halt the menace.
Somewhere August last year, two of the drone pilots led the police to seize some excavators from these galamseyers upon complaint from the executives. The seized excavators, which were packed at the police station miraculously returned to the same galamsey site to continue the illicit galamsey activities under the instruction of the DCE. It was rumoured then that monies were paid to the DCE before releasing the excavators.
The Constituency Executives again noticed this year that, galamsey activities have intensified to an unprecedented level and largely affecting water bodies in the district. The executives then furiously confronted the DCE again about the menace.
On the 3rd of March this year, a joint operation with some constituency executives (2nd Vice Chairman and Youth organizer), the DCE and the police was carried out of which according to the DCE, 7 excavators were seized and five persons arrested.
A few days later, the seized excavators, which would have served as deterrent to other galamseyers and substantial evidence in case of any court action amazingly found their way back to site again for the same illegal activities. Our checks revealed that the DCE, Kwasi Bonzo unpatriotically took ten thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 10,000) for each excavator totalling GHC 70,000 and shockingly released the excavators to them.
This action by the DCE without informing the constituency executives who forced him to undertake such operations confirmed the long-held rumours that the DCE owns a galamsey site, excavators and has been receiving weekly remittances from other galamseyers in the district.
The Constituency Executives then realized that the deceptive fight against galamsey by the DCE was a sham and a well-thought-out master plan, designed to deceive the public.
On the 14th of March, the Constituency Executives, the police and some media personnel unknowing to the DCE, carried out an independent operation at the galamsey sites. To our amazement, all the supposed seized excavators by the DCE were all on site actively doing galamsey with impunity at the full glance of the media, police and the constituency executives.
Most of them ran away but 3 persons were arrested by the police and took away some of their fuel as exhibit.
The operation was widely covered by the media and can be verified at Esiama police station, Newday FM and West End Radio, all in Ellembelle and Jomoro Districts.
This operation temporary halted their activities. The visible crusade and agenda to completely eradicate any galamsey activity in the district by the constituency executives triggered the unfounded allegations in their press conference, which was obviously engineered by the DCE.
The Constituency Executives finally want to establish that:
We are not involved in any illegal small-scale mining activity (galamsey) in the constituency.
The DCE, Kwasi Bonzoh himself has publicly confessed to Metro TV in an interview that his Constituency Executives are not involved in any galamsey related activity hence their allegations hold no water.
Some of the galamsey kingpins, Yeboah and Co live under the roof (residence) of the DCE; confirming the fact that the DCE himself is a culprit that is why he has shockingly refused to crack the whip on these miscreants thereby emboldening them to destroy the water bodies with impunity.
The DCE as the head of the District Security Council and with all the political powers will allow galamsey activities to go on at a distance less than half Kilometre from his office. This also validates his involvement or is a deliberate attempt to disrespect the president’s directives or make the party unpopular in the constituency.
Most of the galamsayers are not indigent of the district hence care less about the destruction of lands and water bodies.The galamsayers feel saved under the protection of the DCE hence their continuous operation in the district.
Despite worries expressed by Nana Amihere Kpanyinli (II), the Paramount Chief of Eastern Nzema Traditional Council about the extensive destruction of lands and water bodies, the galamseyers are currently on-site working while the DCE sits unconcern.
We want to emphasize however that this issue of “Galamsey” is about the health, lands and water bodies of the good people of Ellembelle and that we can assure that no amount of character assassination, vilification and insults will demoralize us to end this fight.
We therefore call on National Security, Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal Mining, Operation Vanguard and Galamstop to quickly storm Ellembelle district to help save our lands and water bodies.
Editor’s Note: when The Chronicle contacted DCE Kwasi Bonzo during the publication of the first story, he strongly denied allegation that he had collected money from the illegal miners to allow them to work. He also denied that he owns some of the pits, where the illegal miners are working. The Chronicle cannot, therefore, confirm the allegation as contained in this press statement issued by the NPP constituency executives.
By Kwesi Alfred Adams, Takoradi / www.thechronicle.com.gh