An investigative report by the Minerals Commission on alleged illegal mining activities taking place behind the official residence of Nkroful District Magistrate which led to her sudden relocation, citing insecurity and health issues, has exhonorated the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Ellembelle, Honourable Kwasi Bonzoh.
The Nkroful District Cout Magistrate, Her Worship Awo French Amissah relocated from her official residence and claimed her life, safety, security and health were being threatened by ongoing illegal mining activities behind her bungalow.
Following her claims, an investigation was launched to ascertain the veracity of her allegations and whether her relocation was justifiable based on those allegations she presented for which she left the residence.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources had directed the Takoradi Office of the Minerals Commission to take up the matter and investigate.
In its Report released on August 1, 2022, the team which visited all parties involved including the Judicial Service of Ghana-Sekondi, the Assemblyman, the alleged illegal mining sites, Divisional Police Commander, District Coordinating Director and District Chief Executive, revealed that activities of the illegal mining did not have any impact on the Magistrate’s residence.
The Report noted that the official residence of the Destrict Magistrate also served as the official residence of the Divisional Police Commander and that the Magistrate had vacated the residence at the time of investigation but the Divisional Police Comanded was still residing on the premises.
Speaking to the Divisional Police Commander, he pointed out that the activities of the illegal mining did not have any impact on the residents as the Illegal mining activities occurred in the Broma river and its embarkments from late 2020 to early 2021 and recently from April to early June 2022.
The river, according to the Report, flows behind the building serving as the official residence of the Divisional police Commander and the District Magistrate.
“The illegal activities occurred during the reconstruction of the only bridge connecting old Teleku Bokazo to new Teleku Bokazo, which started in September 2020 and was completed in early 2021. Several arrests of illegal miners were made by the DCE in early 2021 in efforts to halt illegal mining activities within the area. In March 2021, after arresting three illegal miners and processing them for court, the court on 24 March 2021 ordered for the culprits to continue with their activities as it was deemed to be desilting the river, but under the supervision of the Assembly. The order was objected by the DCE as he pointed out that the Assembly was unwilling to supervise such an illegal activity. The objection ended all desilting’ illegal mining activities within the area.”
The Report further indicated that in April 2022 the illegal mining activities within the area recommenced under the pretense of desilting as ordered by the court in March 2021 but further steps were taken by the Assembly to halt the activities.
“From the investigations conducted, it can be concluded that illegal mining activities were done within the section of the river flowing behind the official residence of the District Magistrate and the Divisional Police Commander from April to early June 2022. The illegal mining took place both day and night during the period,” the Report narrates and stressed that, “There was court order authorizing the people to desilt the river, which turned into illegal mining.
All illegal mining within the areas had ceased since June 9, 2022.”
It also said since the operational areas of the illegal mining and the location of the Magistrate’s residence are more than 130, apart, and the official residence is on a higher altitude than the illegal mining sites, effect of illegal mining, “if any at all, on the residence would be minimal.”
The Commission however recommended that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources includes the area in the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP) to help the area and desilt the Broma river.
It also called for collaboration between the Judiciary, District Assembly and Ghana Police should be intensified to clap down on illegal mining within the district, and suggesting stiffer punishment should be meted out to culpable illegal miners in accordance with section 99 (2) of Act 900, 2025, whilst asking the Assembly to strictly enforce its bi-laws to fight against illegal mining.