The lack of political will to take strong action against the activities of illegal miners is a challenge that Ghana has to address head-on, Paul Hoffman, an anti-corruption activist has said.
Hoffman, who is based in South Africa, said the Report by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, a former Minister of Environment, Science, and Technology, and Innovation, on illegal mining suggested a lack of political will in halting the destruction of the environment.
Speaking to journalists at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) at Legon on Wednesday, Mr Hoffman, who is also the Director of Accountability Now, a global platform to foster accountability and transparency, urged the Government to “take the matter seriously” and “act on it.”
The report, he said “suggests to me that the Government does not have the political will to address the problem and they are manifestly robbing ordinary Ghanaians of their revenue, that with enormous circumstances, flow from mines and robbing ordinary Ghanaians of an environment that is not harmful to health and wellbeing.”
“The Report needs to be turned into an action plan to bring an end to illegal mining because it is killing your economy, environment, and is doing your country no good at all.”
The anti-corruption activist on Wednesday delivered a presentation at GIMPA on the topic: “Tackling corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: south meets West.”
It was organised by GIMPA and supported by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
In his presentation, Mr Hoffman said African countries could conquer corruption if they guaranteed the independence of state institutions mandated to tackle corruption-related issues.
“We do not have anti-corruption machinery in Africa that is up to the standard that is required to deal effectively and efficiently with corruption. Your anti-corruption bodies need to be specialised, trained, independent, and have guaranteed terms and secured term of office,” he said.
Mr Hoffmann said corruption must be treated as a human rights issue and thus, people placed in positions of influence must work in the interest of the people and not for their personal gains.
Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, CDD-Ghana, said the country could not afford to lose the fight against illegal mining as it held dire implications for the future.
He urged the citizenry to rise and demand action from duty bearers to enforce the law and ensure that the environment was protected.
“Ghanaians, everybody should speak up. These allegations have come. Certainly, the Government cannot investigate itself. We need to find a solution to this,” Dr Asante said.