Go to court if you believe burning illegal mining excavators is wrong – Akufo-Addo

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    President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday reaffirmed his determination to root out illegal mining and stated that the burning of equipment used for the pollution of water bodies and forest reserves will not cease till the criminal acts are halted.
    He has therefore challenged those who think otherwise to go to the court of law.

    “I say with all the emphasis at my command, that no rights can accrue to or flow from the criminal venture of galamsey. The equipment which is being used for an illegal or criminal purpose cannot confirm on the owner or any other person any rights whatsoever,” he said.

    He added that the presence of changfan in water bodies and the use of excavators in protected forest zones were nothing short of evil and that no one should compromise in the efforts to protect the environment, forest Reserve and water bodies.

    President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the sod cutting ceremony of the of the construction of the Law Village Project close to the University of Ghana and UPSA in Accra Wednesday.

    “I say, with all the emphasis at my command, the no rights can acrue to or flow from the criminal ventue of galamsey. The equipment being used for an illegal or criminal purpose cannot confirm on the owner or any other person any rights whatsoever.”

    He said the presence of chanfan in water bodies and the use of excavators in protected forest zones were nothing short of “evil activity”.
    Facilities

    The Law Village will have a state-of-the-art 1,300-seater multi-purpose conference hall accessible to the public, two lecture halls with teleconferencing facilities, two 500-seater lecture theatres, two lecture rooms of 40-seater capacity each and two 50-seater mini-conference rooms (designed as flexible spaces to hold Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] sessions).

    In addition, it will have a modern Law library complex with traditional and electronic archiving facilities and two moot courts accommodating 30 people.

    ‘Go to court’

    President Akufo-Addo said he was aware that some people were of the conviction that the move to rid water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery was unlawful and, in some cases, harsh.

    “I strongly disagree and I would advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position, if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about,” he challenged the opposers.

    Personal experience

    Touching on his personal experience, President Akufo-Addo, who practised law for over three decades, said the Ghana Law Reports of modern times were littered with cases in which his clients thought it necessary to challenge government actions.

    He explained that in majority of the cases, the courts upheld his contention, but in a few others the courts did not.

    “That is the rule of law, which does not recognise social status, religious persuasion, political affiliation, ethnic origins or regional adherence; merely the law and precedent, the ancient common law doctrine of ‘stares decisis’,” he added.

    Law

    Quoting from the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703), President Akufo-Addo said it was the vehicle through which a mineral licence was acquired and which also conferred mineral rights on the holder.

    He added that any person who, without a valid licence, conveyed any equipment onto a piece of land, purportedly to conduct activities, from the search, reconnaissance, prospecting, exploration to mining for a mineral, committed a grievous crime against the state.

    Indeed, he said, holding personal possession of a valid licence but undertaking mining in water bodies or mining unlawfully in protected forest zones was also an illegality.

    The President stated that apart from the criminal violations of Act 703, the activities of such persons desecrated the environment, polluted water bodies and endangered the lives of present and future generations of Ghanaians, adding that “their monumental crimes should not be condoned in any shape or form”.

    Appeal

    President Akufo-Addo appealed to all Ghanaians to rally behind the government in its efforts to stamp out the illegality.

    He said he swore an oath as President to be faithful and true to the Republic of Ghana, and that was exactly what he was doing in the fight against galamsey.

    Military

    The President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), paid glowing tribute to the officers, men and women of the GAF who had stepped forward to perform their patriotic duties in the exercise to end illegal mining.
    He said they deserved the loud praise of the nation for the work they were doing to rid the country of those destroying the water bodies and forest reserves.

    Source: graphiconline.com