The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has defended his record on galamsey prosecutions, saying that he has chalked more successes than witnessed under all the administrations of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The NDC recently called for Mr Dame’s resignation, accusing him of failing to prosecute persons named in the former Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng’s report on illegal mining in Ghana.
The opposition party also urged Ghanaians to reject the recent legal opinion offered by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice on the report. The NDC alleged that the Attorney-General’s advice referring to portions of the report as lacking evidence was nothing but a cover-up and an attempt to whitewash the damning report.
But in a statement issued on Wednesday, October 18, Mr Dame said that he has recorded greater success in securing convictions for galamsey offences than witnessed in erstwhile NDC administrations.
He disclosed that between August 2021 and September 2022, 33 persons including 11 foreign nationals were convicted and sentenced under Act 995 in the Eastern Region.
“Following the enactment of the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995) in the administration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the punishment regime for illegal mining was drastically enhanced to a minimum of 15 years for a Ghanaian and 20 years for a non-Ghanaian.”
“This rendered prosecution more difficult as culprits, faced with the reality of the lack of an option of a fine, became more reluctant to plead guilty. Despite this, I have recorded greater success in securing a conviction for Galamsey offences than witnessed in erstwhile NDC administrations.”
Mr Dame also said that on 31st August 2023, the Circuit Court, Tarkwa, sentenced 25 people to various terms in prison ranging between 15 and 20 years each together with various hefty fines, following a successful prosecution by his office.
He added that currently, over 130 cases of illegal mining involving over 800 accused persons are being prosecuted in courts in the Western, Eastern, Ashanti, Greater-Accra, and Upper East Regions of Ghana.
“Currently, over 130 cases of illegal mining involving over 800 accused persons are being prosecuted in courts in the Western, Eastern, Ashanti, Greater-Accra, and Upper East Regions of Ghana. The cases are at various stages of their conduct with some near conclusion,” he added.