Deputy Minister of Defence, Major Derrek Oduro (rtd), has revealed that some illegal small-scale miners (galamseyers) are blackmailing personnel of the Operation Vanguard (OV) taskforce.
The joint military-police taskforce was put together by the government as part of efforts to fight against illegal mining.
However, days after the taskforce started its work, reports emerged that some of them were taking bribe from the miners so as to allow the illicit trade to continue.
The Eastern Regional Minister and Chairman of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), Eric Kwakye Darfuor, recently revealed that some youth in mining communities were enticing members of the taskforce with goodies.
According to him, the situation is making the fight against illegal mining very difficult even though some arrests have been made and several culprits arraigned.
“The youth of this area who are into galamsey are bribing the Operation Vanguard personnel, so, it doesn’t work. You don’t know when you’ll suffer the effect of illegal mining, this is a serious issue, so, I beg of you, let’s discourage such acts. Operation Vanguard has made a lot of arrests, some have been convicted, one of the convicts was being charged GHS60,000, he couldn’t afford it so he’s serving his time in jail. No one should think that the machines that have been seized will be released”, Mr Kwakye Darfuor said.
Speaking to Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Tuesday, 16 January, Mr Oduro said: “It is not true that the solders are taking bribes, it is the galamseyers who are peddling this falsehood.”
“We change them periodically, and, so, it is not true that they take bribe from the galamsyers to allow them go ahead with their questionable trade. This is blackmail by some of the galameyers to frustrate the work of Operation Vanguard.”