‘Bugging won’t stop galamsey war’
The onslaught on small-scale mining will not cease until the battle is won, Lands and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu has said.
Mr Amewu gave the assurance a day after it came to light that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) had retrieved spying gadgets from his office.
The intelligence bureau is probing how the device, a recorder which can pick low volume sounds about 30 metres away with a data storage unit and a transmitting unit, was pinned to the back of the Coat of Arms hanging in the minister’s office.
The National Security retrieved the suspected bug after a routine screening exercise at the Ministry.
Mr Amewu has himself described the bugging of his office as “shocking” and wondered why anyone would do that.
There have been suggestions the device was planted there to obtain damaging evidence against the Minister for blackmailing purposes vis-à-vis his fight against galamsey.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) in March, barely two months after coming into office, declared a ban on all illegal mining practices across the country, a move it said was to roll back destruction of water bodies and the environment at large. The government issued a moratorium on small-scale mining for six months in addition.
In the period, over 500 earth-moving equipment deployed in illegal mining areas were voluntarily withdrawn in compliance with the order while 220 machines were blown up in the Ashanti Region alone in June.
The government has said it would need some GHS20billion to fix the damage caused by galamsey to the environment and is receiving nationwide support for the move.
Asked if the discovery of the recording device in his office will lead to a crack in his resolve against galamseyers, as suspicions mount that the bugging of his office was plotted by his detractors, Mr Amewu told Ghana Yensom’s Chief Jerry Forson on Accra100.5FM on Tuesday July 11: “With the support of the presidency, we’ll make sure that we will go ahead and save the environment.
“I think we are determined and we are more encouraged by the president’s [resolve]. That alone is enough. We’re going to go ahead and do it and we’ll make sure that we do it well with a level of confidence and suitability for the president to achieve his main objective,” he said on the show.