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Mining Operation Vanguard Commander: Punishment for galamsey not deterrent

He said imposing fines between GHC1,000 and GHC2,000 on illegal miners is worrying, saying authorities must tackle that.

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The punishment handed over by the court to arrested illegal miners (galamseyers) is too weak to deter others, the outgoing commander of the Operation Vanguard, the anti-galamsey taskforce, has said.

Colonel William Agyapong said imposing fines between GHC1,000 and GHC2,000 on illegal miners is worrying, saying authorities must tackle that.

READ MORE: Anti-galamsey task force arrests 61 Chinese

The media coalition against galamsey, which championed the crackdown on illegal mining, has petitioned the Chief Justice on the weak punishment giving to the culprits.

“Government has done a lot but we will need more. The kind of sentences and fines that come out of the arrest are not helpful,” Col. Agyapong said.

He continued: “We know that the onus is on the prosecution to prove somebody guilty, but if you know what we go through and after everything the sentencing and the fines are not so deterrent.

“If you fine somebody who is involved in small-scale illegal mining and you fine him GH¢1,000 or GH¢2,000, I think that it will not be deterrent enough. He will not see why he should not go back to the land.

“These are worrying issues that I hope that in due course, they are tackled by the appropriate authority.”

The launch of the anti-galamsey taskforce led to a ban on small-scale mining for six months. The ban has seen three months extension.

READ MORE: Operation Vanguard members taking bribe from illegal miners – Minister alleges

It came into force following the pollution of the nation’s river bodies and destruction of cocoa farms.

President Nana has, on multiple forums, pledged to tackle illegal mining so as to protect the environment.

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