Inusah Fuseini, a former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, has revealed that, there is no justification for the measures carried out in halting illegal mining. According to him, comments made by Attorney General, Godfred Dame in reaction to illegal mining were insincere.
Mr Fuseini further described the stance of the Attorney General in the burning of excavators as untenable.
Inusah Fuseini’s comments follow the Attorney General’s statement on the $15 million judgment debt awarded against the Government of Ghana in its fight against illegal mining.
“I find the explanation of Godfred Dame quite disingenuous. I think that either Nana Akufo-Addo’s Ministers are clearly incompetent, complacent, or not simply up to the task. Because if you think that the law that is presently in existence is incapable of dealing with the menace; you do not act with impunity.
“Nations develop at the back of the rule of law and so if you think the law is not adequate, what you do is to sponsor an amendment. But you do not take the law into your own hands and use common law maxim to justify your actions”.
Categories of miners
Additionally, Mr Fuseini expressed worry over the absence of definition between a person mining with proper license and those without. He further explained that it is improper on the part of government to mete out same punishment for the miners.
“On the mining field, you have not educated the soldiers enough on persons who have the licence to mine and persons who do not have the licence to mine. If a person has a licence to mine and is mining in a way that contravenes the permit; there is a procedure. There is a punishment regime prescribed by the law. You cannot treat that person as if he is a person who has no licence to mine.”
Furthermore, he proposed that military personnel dispatched to exact order and compliance in halting illegal activities must endeavour to draw a distinction between miners in the different categories.
“They need to employ due process. We all know as a matter of fact that in a situation where a person has a licence to mine or carry out any activity, the burden of proof shifts from the enforcement authority to the person who has the licence. So, when soldiers go on the field, what they need to enquire is whether you have the licence and then the next action follows. If he contravenes the licence, you take him to court.”
$15 million judgement debt in illegal fighting
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame, had earlier made known his intent to challenge a $15 million judgement debt against government in its fight against illegal mining.
Mr Dame explained that the debt resulted from a now-defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee tasked by President Akufo-Addo to fight illegal mining.
“Apparently, there has been some judgement debt granted against the Government of Ghana in that regard. I got to know through Randy Abbey that it had been awarded last year. The following Monday, I sought to investigate, and I found out that indeed; there had been a judgement debt of over $15 million granted, and that was in June last year, with respect to some activities by the Inter-Ministerial Committee, and at that time there was no burning at all.
“So really, the judgement debt becomes unavoidable. But even with respect to that judgement debt, even though the time for appeal has elapsed. I really intend to challenge it on procedural grounds.”