Illegal miners have no mining permits – Witness

Dr. Mawuli Lumor, officer  in charge of the Ankobra River Basin, at Tarkwa, yesterday confirmed  that the Water Resources Commission (WRC) has  not  granted permits to the   five Chinese and five Ghanaians, charged  for   illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey,’ in River Ankobra, at Bamiankor in the Western Region.

Dr Lumor, a prosecution witness, who appeared before a Sekondi High Court trying the accused, said under water Act 522, all water resources are vested in the government, explaining that  his office conducts  investigations concerning all applications regarding activities  on River Ankobra.

 

“As far as I am concerned, they have not been permited to mine in the Ankobra Basin. Since 2007, I have been working in the basin and I do investigations   before the go ahead can be given. Concerning the accused, no   permit has come to my office.” he told the Court, presided  by Justice Edward Amoako Asante.

Answering questions posed by counsel for the accused, Constantine  Kudjordzi, Dr. Lumor said that dredging or  diverting of a water course, was allowed,  but,  were done  under technical supervision, and by  law as stipulated  by the Water  Act,

“Under the Act, you should have a permit.” the officer in Charge of Ankobra Basin stressed.

Led in evidence   by the prosecutor, Senior State Attorney, Mr. George Sackey, earlier, Dr Lumour told the court that the Ankobra Basin office had not received applications from the accused requesting granting of rights to mine.

“We have not received such a letter from them. We do not grant permits for people to mine in rivers, it’s purely illegal.” Dr. Lumor added.

Meanwhile, proceedings have been adjourned to Monday, June 19.

The five Chinese and five Ghanaians, who were arrested in March, this year, by the Western Regional Police Command, in the Bamianko corridor of Nzema East municipality of the Western Region, have been granted  bail by  a Sekondi High Court.

The  Chinese are  Dong Cheng, unemployed, 30, Hung Jian, engineer, 51, Ning Guorui, welder, 42, Yin Bi Quiang, spare parts dealer, 46, Li Zilong, cook/farmer, 44, were  granted a self-congnisance bail  and also  ordered  to deposit their passports  with  the court.

The five Ghanaian collaborators are  Eric Owusu, carpenter, 28, Kwabena Adjei, small-scale  miner, 50, Nana Adu Ackah Mensah,farmer, 42, Kwasi Owusu, unemployed, 28, and Kofi Darko, driver, 21, were also  granted bail to the sum of GH¢100,000 each , with one surety to be justified.

They  have  been  charged  with conspiracy to  conduct  illegal mining  on River Ankobra and  also undertaking small scale mining operations without licence contrary to section  23 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29 and section 99 (2) of the Minerals and Mining Act, Act,2006 Act 703,  as amended in Act 900 of 2015.

From Clement Adzei Boye, Sekondi

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