Sunday, 16 October 2016

Could Ghana's Illegal Gold Miners Evolve Into Allies Of Global Terrorist Organisations?

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, and, in the long run, affect the overall viability of Ghanaian society - for 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 sub-Saharan Africa?

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 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 the very foundations of Ghanaian society - 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 legally registered 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 all invariably resort to simply bribing officials sent to monitor their activities at mining sites, when concerned opinion leaders in affected rural communities lodge official complaints against both legally registered and 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 an area incredibly designated a concession for small-scale gold miners - is being unlawfully destroyed with total  impunity.

The criminals destroying that incredibly beautiful forestland,  where we grow cocoa organically, 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, the thoroughly dishonest Kwame Thompson, and our former overseer, the decietful John Awuku (aka "Red"),  to mine gold on.

What escapes those greedy and visionless 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 is not already aware - 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 (GSBA), which has been owned by my family as a registered  freehold forest property 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 impact investor will invest in a society in which rich criminals can get away with destroying privately-owned freehold  forestland that they want to turn into an ecotourism destination to give local people a sustainable future?

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.

Perhaps 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.

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, because of their disregard for authority and lawlessness, they could become allies of global terrorist organisations - which 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 adopt a creative approach, and  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

In the case of Akyem Juaso, for example, such an approach, in which a small detachment of military and police special forces are billeted locally, to work with the Akyem Saamang Unit Committee, led by the Assemblyman, Hon. Gyeatuo, will definitely stamp out the illegal gold mining and the illegal logging that funds it, very quickly.

It could then be replicated in other parts of rural Ghana affected by illegal gold mining and illegal logging, too - and save them from the pollution of their soils and drinking water sources that illegal gold mining leaves in its wake.

The question is: should society continue to tolerate an unlawful and destructive economic activity that only benefits a few wealthy Ghanaians, which also threatens the cocoa industry's long-term viability, specifically, and the farming-sector, generally?

For the sake of both present-day Ghanaians and 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 ruthless foreigners driven merely by unfathomable greed to mine gold illegally here. But tomorrow those foreigners will be 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, couldy turn our homeland Ghana into a lawless society in which no one is safe and might is always right -  a perfect safe haven and lucrative dysfunctional source of funding for cash-hungry terrorist organisations.

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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