Six Chinese nationals, who were arrested about two weeks ago, are facing prosecution for their engagement in illegal mining, otherwise known as “galamsey”, alleged drug peddling and money laundering.
The six are Chem Gui Bim (31), Lu Siam Chu (36), Wu Sao Pui (41), Yao Sausam (44), Xue Lian lua (30), and Cheng Chun Rong (45).
They were arrested in Asankragwa in the Western Region when National Security operatives conducted a swoop in two locations in the township. They were arrested at a casino within the Xindi hotel on the Asankragwa-Enchi road behind the Petrosol fuel station.
The owner of the hotel is currently at large while his wife, Xue Loan Lua, has been arrested and aiding in investigations.
The National Security operatives retrieved one Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle, one and half box of mercury, six pump action guns, one sidearm, seven excavator control boards, three parcels of Indian hemp, eight cartridges, one laptop, 80 mobile phones, 41 ipads and an amount of GHS 1,302,990.
Available information indicates that the casino and the hotel had been in active operation for almost five years.
The government has renewed its fight against illegal mining in the country. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last week called on all Ghanaians to join his government in fighting the menace that has destroyed most of the country’s water and forest reserves.
The President expressed his support for the work of the taskforce that has been mandated to clear the country’s river bodies and forest reserves of equipment used for the illegal activities.
“I say, with all the emphasis at my command, that no rights can accrue to or flow from the criminal venture of galamsey. The equipment, which is being used for an illegal or criminal purpose, cannot confer on the owner or any other person any rights whatsoever.
“I appeal to all Ghanaians… to rally behind Government in its efforts to stamp out far-reaching illegality and criminality, rather than advocate for the protection of non-existent rights of persons caught in this evil activity.”
The President acknowledged the fact that there are some Ghanaians who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding the country’s water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh.
“I strongly disagree, and I would advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position, if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about. I should know,” he said.
According to the President, the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) is the vehicle through which a mineral licence is acquired.
He explained that any person who, without a valid licence, conveys any equipment onto a piece of land purportedly to conduct activities for the search, reconnaissance, prospecting, exploration or mining for a mineral commits grievous crimes against the law.
“Indeed, a person in possession of a valid licence but undertakes mining in water bodies or mines unlawfully in protected forest zones also commits an illegality. Apart from the criminal violations of Act 703, the activities of such persons desecrate our environment, pollute our water bodies, and endanger the lives of present and future generations of Ghanaians,” President Akufo-Addo added.
He added: “They are monumental crimes which should not be condoned in any shape or form. The presence of changfans in water bodies is illegal, as is the unlawful use of excavators in protected forest zones. The devastation caused by these equipment is nothing short of evil, and we should not compromise in our efforts to protect our environment, forest reserves and water bodies.”