Mining equipment valued at over 3 million Ghana cedis have been destroyed by two unidentified soldiers in a company of six others persons led by one Edward Kwasi Akuoko, a mining aide to Ashanti regional chairman of the NPP Bernard Antwi Boasiako alias Chairman Wontumi.
The raid at the Integrity Resource Company Limited mining site, in the Aowin District of the Western North region according to the security man at the site Daniel Nivo happened at about 11 am on Wednesday, September 2.
According to Nivo, they [workers] returned to the site on Monday after the Lands and Natural Resource Ministry vetted and validated the company’s operational licenses following the government’s lifting of the ban on illegal small-scale mining.
Speaking to the media, Daniel Divo recounted, “on Wednesday morning at about 11 am, eight-armed people stormed the site with two cars. As soon as they alighted from the vehicle they started firing warning shots which scared me and other workers on site. They seized all our phones, and took away GH¢10,000 we had on us.”
He further narrated “the supposed anti-Galamsey gang also destroyed all their mining equipment which were being arranged to cover their old pits before they will resume their operations on-site as part of the directive given by the ministry of lands and natural resources.”
“The gang of eight said they came there under the instruction of Chairman Wontumi whose alleged mining firm (Akonta Mining Company Limited) shares mining concession boundary with the Integrity Resource Company limited,” he explained.
“My boss is doing legal mining with a certified license, why must Wontumi send his boys led by Akuoko to attack our site because his party is in government. Is this not an abuse of political power on persons engaging in a legal business. Since when did Wontumi become a member of the national anti-Galamsey taskforce.”
He, however, noted that an official report has been filed at the Aowin district police command.
Meanwhile, the General Manager of Akonta Mining limited belonging to Chairman Wontumi, Edward Kwasi Akuoko, has admitted leading the destruction of Integrity Sources Company limited site with National Security Operatives after warning them severally to halt their illegal activities there.
He explained that the mining company was mining illegally on the buffer zone of Akonta mining site which was against the mining regulations.
“When the minister in charge of lands and natural resources Abu Jinapoo inspected our mining site he told us to protect our reputation by making sure nobody is allowed to mine around the river Tano which is serving as buffer zone to our site so….it is true we went and destroyed the illegality they were perpetrating on the buffer zone with national security operatives. We were there because we know the area,” he explained.
He disclosed that his boss Wontumi has officially responded to the police when a formal complaint was filed against him for leading the armed men to the site with his boys after the exercise that led to the destruction of their equipment.
Edward Kwasi Akuoko also denied stealing about GH¢10,000 from the miners “we never stole any money from them. At the time we went there, nobody was on site so who did we take the money from,” he questioned.