Fight against galamsey: Political parties must declare zero-tolerance, says Ablakwa

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for North Tongu in the Volta Region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has called on all political parties to publicly declare a zero-tolerance policy for party financing from galamsey overlords at all levels.

“This ought to be strictly enforced with appropriate sanctions,” he said.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, he pointed out that looking at the approach to fighting the menace, the success of the current fight against the menace was uncertain.

“I am just thinking aloud on how the latest round of galamsey fight wouldn’t end up as a farce like all the others.

“Only fearless truth and unquestionable integrity can be our saving grace. God help the Republic,” he added.

Financiers

Ablakwa also called on the government to take the fight against illegal mining to so-called big “men and women” fuelling the menace.

He said considering the extent to which the environment was being destroyed with impunity, it was important to look beyond persons who were directly mining illegally on the field and focus more on the financiers if the fight is to be won.

“It strikes me as really strange that in this entire galamsey fight we have not had one galamsey overlord, one real architect, an actual financier arrested and prosecuted. Isn’t that where the fight should have started from?” he asked.

“We all know from the kind of sophisticated equipment at play that only a few moneybags can initiate a galamsey operation,” he added.

Reward system

The legislator further said the time had come to put out “a handsome amount of money” as reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of the “big men/women” behind the galamsey menace.

He said those cloaked with authority over intelligence gathering must go all out to expose persons who were “the real henchmen” in galamsey.

Ablakwa said persons caught in galamsey sites could be used to track down the financiers.

On the burning of excavators, he said: “Instead of hurriedly burning excavators, shouldn’t we pay attention to their unique chassis numbers and readily make available technology to track the real McCoys who imported or purchased them? It’s definitely not difficult to follow the ownership trail.”

Institutions must act

He added that the mandated state institutions must start gathering intelligence on the flow of money in the galamsay chain so as to get to the real actors.

He stressed that it was long overdue for “EOCO to begin following the proceeds of this organised crime by lawfully freezing bank accounts and identifying assets of suspected bigwigs linked to galamsey as we take sincere steps to smoke out the shadowy perpetrators-in-chief.”

Credit: Daily Graphic

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