The revelation by the Chiefs of Amansie that, some appointees in the Akufo-Addo government, including Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, are involved in galamsey is to say the least disconcerting just as it is an affront to the sensibilities of Ghanaians.
Disturbed by the revelation, the Forestry Commission, has issued a statement claiming the allegation leveled against its CEO, was not true and is a misrepresentation of the reality.
The management of the Forestry Commission, instead of speaking to the issue, rather chose to accuse the minority Members of Parliament (MPs) of maligning their CEO.
The Management of the Commission, resorted to the usual first tactics of paring allegations, as been baseless, until they are confronted with the facts and then they change the narrative of defence.
The Chiefs in a meeting with the Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, accused Sir John of giving the Aprampram forest reserve to Chinese nationals to mine under the pretex of doing reclamation.
In the opinion of this paper, the call by the management of the Forestry Commission for a full scale investigation is long overdue.
It is appropriate in the circumstance that, those who use their position to flout the ban on galamsey are exposed and shamed in the process and necessary sanctions, including prosecutions are commenced.
In February this year, Sir John, announced that, 400 guards have been trained in weapon handling and battling at Asutuare in the Greater Accra Region.
According to him, “They [guards] are very strong; they’ve taken them through weapon handling and everything. I am giving them 1000 guns. We know some of these galamsey people are holding Pump Action guns”, he added.
“I can assure you the gun I am going to give to them would be better and sharper than the Pump Action gun,” he continued.
This paper at the time, raised questions about the propriety of this decision, we were of the opinion that, most of the recruitment done regarding schemes such as this, is based on political party loyalty, it is nothing short of jobs for the boys, and we are already dealing with vigilantism, that is refusing to go away.
The result is what we are hearing today, about the allegation of the CEO and some party apparatchiks, involved in galamsey.
It will not be far far-fetched to assume that, the over 1000 forest guars that were recruited by the Commisision, were deployed to protect the interest of the CEO and his friends.
Sir John cannot hide behind the Commission to engage in illegal activities.