Over Kyebi Galamsey Mess
Chiefs, numbering over 50, Monday afternoon stormed the offices of Accra-based Radio Gold to refute allegation that the occupant of the Ofori Panyin Stool, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin II, was engaged in illegal mining, popularly called Galamsey.
The chiefs, who traveled from Kyebi in the Eastern Region, in five huge buses from Okyehene’s Palace, were delegated by Okyehene, because he had been informed that his name was being dragged in the mud by a son of the stool, Lawyer Samuel Atta Akyea, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South.
The chiefs had come to Montie FM, a member of the Network Broadcasting Company (NBC), where the accusation was first made, after refuting the claim, shockingly poured libation on the compound of Radio Gold, buttressing their point that the Okyehene and the stool knew nothing about the galamsey as suggested by Lawyer Atta Akyea.
The Legislator, is said to have insisted that the occupant of the stool, could not distance himself from the menace, when galamsey operations are carried out at his backyard, indeed behind the window of his palace. The illegal miners had almost dug beneath the palace.
In the said interview on Wednesday 29, January 2014, the MP emphatically mentioned that galamsey activities at Kyebi, especially at Abuakwa State College, which is threatening the very survival of the prestigious school, was being carried out under the nose of the Okyehene, but he has failed to do something about it.
This is said to have angered the Okyehene, who was on record to be campaigning against destruction of the environment, hence tasked his chiefs to come to Accra to refute the MP’s allegation immediately.
Lawyer Atta Akyea’s accusation on Montie FM, follows an earlier one by a member of the Asona royal family of Kyebi, Odehye Nana Adjei Boateng, who alleged in 2011 that the Okyehene was condoning illegal mining.
The accusation led to an uproar in the kingdom, forcing the Okyeman Council to impose a fine of 72 sheep and 36 crates of schnapps on Odehye Boateng.
Okyehene is reported to have refuted the accusation saying, “recently in the news, you’ve heard my name all over the place that the Okyehene is involved in galamsey, and I laugh”.
“I can go to the Minerals Commission that I want to engage in mining. I think if I want to do mining, [nobody] can stop me…why will I go and hide to steal my own property?”
It will be recalled that in November 2011, Mr. Akyea stated on Citi Eyewitness News that accusation that he was fuelling perception that Okyehene was engaging in illegal mining was unfortunate and stated categorically that he was being wrongly accused.
“I regret the incident…but I can assure you that I am not behind what is going on,” he said. “The first thing you should bear in mind is that I am a royal too and I owe my allegiance to the Ofori Panyin’s stool.”
The MP added: “I don’t know why some people have an interest in bringing me to this matter , but I can assure you that I believe strongly nobody must defame the stool.”
The Herald’s sources at Kyebi have disclosed that Mr. Akyea is opening up now because for over four years, he and the Okyehene have been at loggerheads simply because, the occupant of the stool wanted his preferred candidate to contest the seat as MP.
Additional information gathered by The Herald is that the Okyehene and the entire Okyeman may find themselves wanting because the Eastern Regional Minister, Madam Helen Ntonsoo, is said to have stormed the Kyebi area yesterday, with a team of security officers and arrested some ‘galamseyers’ in the area.
Though this paper cannot confirm the total number of people arrested, but insiders say the number is alarming.
Most of the illegal miners arrested had “receipts”, showing they had authority from some chiefs to embark on the act. The receipts were said to have been traced to Kyebi, meaning there were big people in the town providing tacit support for the illegal act.
Details are sketchy now, but information is that in the coming days, the miners may not have a choice but to speak out as the Minister is determined to find out who is behind the illegal acts, which has become an albatross around the neck of government and the people Ghana.
Meanwhile, managers of Network Broadcasting Company, led by B.B Benson, yesterday met the Okyehene at his residence in Accra and disassociated itself from Mr. Atta Akyea’s comment against him.