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Auditor-General’s report indicts Minerals Commission, EPA for not enforcing regulations on reclamation

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It appears state institutions mandated to ensure responsible mining are themselves breaching the law by not enforcing same.

A ‘Performance Audit Report Of The Auditor-General On Regulating Reclamation Activities at Small-Scale Mining Sites’, shows clear breaches of the Mineral and Mining Regulations, 2012 and the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999.

The report indicts the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for failing to ensure that small-scale miners adhere to the polluter pay principle, which ensures that miners reclaim mined pits.

The report, which was conducted between January 2016 and December 2020, says an amount of over GHS 500,000 was not collected from 12 concessioners as reclamation bonds.

What the report said

In its summary, the report said, the activities of MC and EPA did not ensure that small-scale miners reclaim degraded mined sites to return them to their maximum beneficial value as required by the Mineral and Mining Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2182) and the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999 (L.I. 1652).

It added that EPA had not put the necessary measures in place to enforce the posting of reclamation bonds by SSM operators. While the Minerals Commission did not enforce the submission of operating plans by SSM companies/groups, both organizations failed to appropriately monitor and report on the extent of reclamation to ensure compliance.

In addition, the MC and EPA had not implemented procedures to verify and certify reclamation works.

“Poor enforcement of the laws has resulted in several pits filled with water on the concessions, which have become death threats to people who live or work around them”, the report further mentioned.

On concessions where some level of backfilling of pits had taken place, there were patches of heaps of sand, mini ponds and natural vegetation cover, indications that the operators failed to level the land, and plant economic
trees and nurture them as required.

EPA’s reaction

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Henry Kokofu has been responding to the issue.

He said the EPA will soon engage some companies to begin the Reclamation, Rehabilitation and Restoration (RRR) of identified degraded lands and water bodies.

“The recommendations have been taken seriously and in good faith. Indeed, steps have been taken to engage the stakeholders, including the local indigenous banks. EPA intends to fence that businesses for them. The sector minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, has asked EPA to roll out the directives as soon as possible.”

“Indeed, the Vice President, H.E Dr. M. Bawumia demanded a concept note on Reclamation, Rehabilitation, and Restoration of degraded lands and water bodies, which has been presented. H.E the President is very passionate about that and is in the position to offer the needed support for us to succeed. The concept note outlines the potential opportunities for jobs creations in the mined areas (communities), therefore an integral part of the fight against galamsey (solutions orientated)”, he added

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Politics

Ignore twisted interpretation of ‘do or die’ comment – Ashanti chief to Mahama

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The Krontihene of Ejura Sekyedumase, Nana Agyapa II, has expressed surprise about the deliberate twisting of an idiom used by former President John Dramani Mahama to demonstrate the commitment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to plug any loopholes that contributed to the party’s inability to win the 2020 general elections.

According to the NDC 2020 Presidential Candidate, the party considers the 2024 election very critical and will be a ‘Do or Die’ affair, urging party operatives to remember that they can only win the election at the level of the polling stations.

In his remarks to welcome the former President and his entourage to the palace of the Frantehene ahead of his tour of the Ashanti Region, the Krontihene expressed his misgivings over the deliberate attempt to twist what Mr. Mahama said.

“These days even when you speak well some misconstrue it. It is unfortunate because the former President is only rallying his supporters that at the next elections the party would be vigilant and not be caught unawares, and that all persons given responsibility should focus and execute their task flawlessly to get their expected results.”

“There is nothing wrong with what he said. But others have deliberately misconstrued his statement. But don’t lose hope, I know that good times are ahead. I am very happy that you have seen that it is not the court you would go to seek redress but that you and your party members will be vigilant and put in the right measures so that your victory is not stolen” he stressed.

Speaking later at a gathering where the leadership of the NDC interacted with victims of a November 21, 2020 accident that involved members of the party from Frante, Frantehene Nana Owusu Sekyere Bobo III commended the former President for the developments he brought to the community during his Presidency.

He recalled that it was President Mahama’s NDC administration that connected 51 communities in the Constituency to the national grid. He also acknowledged Mr. Mahama for coming to the aid of the people and responding to a demand for a school block, among many others.

Nana Frantehene was optimistic that his community can always rely on the NDC if given another chance because of what the community previously benefitted under the party’s administration. He also requested for help to upgrade their clinic to be able to cater for the health need of the people.

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Rev Owusu Bempah reportedly rushed to hospital

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The Founder and Leader of Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah, has been rushed to the Police Hospital in Accra, newsafrica24.com gathers.

The popular man of God was sent to hospital in handcuffs after he fell sick while in police custody.

Rev Owusu Bempah was remanded into police custody on Monday, September 13 after he was denied bail by an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Her Honour Afia Owusuaa Appiah.

He pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against him by the police.

The controversial pastor was picked up on Sunday from his church premises amid stiff resistance from some of the members.

Three of his followers were arrested alongside him and they were also arraigned before court on Monday. Two are on the run.

Their case will be re-called on Monday, September 20.

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Democracy has been beneficial for Ghana and Africa – Akufo-Addo

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“Democracy has been beneficial for the continent and for our country. We know, however, that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and vigilant we shall be here in Ghana. We shall not let our guard down, and allow the clammy embrace of the people by anti-democrats, who are disdainful and incapable of effective popular mobilisation through accepted channels, but who want shortcuts to power without the express support of the people.”

These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered a speech at the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference, held in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region, on Monday, 13th September 2021.

Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo data and history have proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, that all aspects of national life have witnessed significant improvements under democratic dispensations, in comparison to periods of military rule.

According to the President, “The 1970s and 1980s, the periods of unbridled authoritarian rule on the continent, were the eras of economic decline, worsening poverty, collapsing infrastructure and insecurity on our continent. GDP per capita in 1970, for example, according to the World Bank, stood at $220”.

He added that the “third wave of democratization” in Africa, beginning in the 1990s, saw GDP per capita rise, substantially, to six hundred and five dollars ($605) in 1995, declined marginally to five hundred and forty-seven dollars ($547) in the year 2000, and, in 2017, increased to one thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars ($1,550).

In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that GDP per capita was three hundred and ninety-eight dollars ($398) in 1990, declined to two hundred and fifty-eight dollars ($258) in 2000, and it is now two thousand, two hundred and twenty-three dollars ($2,223).

Another key index of Human Development, life expectancy at birth, he said, was estimated by the World Bank at forty-five (45) years in 1970 in sub-Saharan Africa.

“By 1990, this had increased to fifty (50) years, and, in 2019, life expectancy at birth on the continent was sixty-one (61) years. In Ghana, it was forty-nine (49) years in 1970, and sixty-four (64) years in 2019. According to data from the World Bank, primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa in 1970 stood at 54%, and had increased to 98.9% in 2019. It was 64% for us in Ghana in 1970, and by 2019, stood at 105% in 2019,” he said.
According to the President, the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy has brought 1.2 million Ghanaian children into the education ecosystem, the highest number of students in secondary school in Ghana’s history, four hundred thousand (400,000) of whom would otherwise have been excluded.

Additionally, he indicated that the National Health Insurance Scheme is operating more adequately, and is enjoying the confidence of the increasing numbers of its users, with the number of active members up from 10.6 million in 2016 to 12.3 million at the end of 2019, stressing that “the goal in sight is to attain Universal Health Coverage for all”.

With next year marking the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Referendum, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ghanaian people showed through that process their commitment to democratic governance under a Constitution that guarantees the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights and civic liberties.

“The decision has ushered our nation into the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional democratic governance in her history, which has experienced, under the 4th Republic, three (3) peaceful transfers of power through the ballot box on three (3) separate occasions. The anti-democrats, who are always looking for occasions to sneer at democratic governance, should also bear the following data in mind,” he said.

Bar Conferences, the President explained, became concerned with constitutional rule, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary and other matters that were of paramount interest to the citizens, who wanted to live under a governance structure that was insulated from authoritarian rule, whether of the one-party Union Government or military variety.

“The Bar joined, wholeheartedly, in the search of the people for democratic governance, where power emanates from the open decision of the ballot box, not from the coercive force of the gun, secretly undertaken behind the backs of the people,” he added. 

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