Akonta Mining: Lands Minister responds to Mahama

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor has reacted to former president John Mahama’s comments on President Akufo-Addo’s defence of Akonta Mining Limited.

Mr. Jinapor said the former president’s description of president Akufo-Addo’s response to a question by the chairman of the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association in Koforidua as empty was ill-informed.

Akonta Mining was accused of engaging in illegal mining activities in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.

The Lands Minister said he would not have responded to Mahama’s comments on the matter, but he is obliged to do so “due to the gross misinformation and political spin contained in the said post.”

He was worried the former president’s comment is an “attempt to disparage my integrity and that of the President in respect of this matter, as Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources, I deem it necessary to set the records straight.”

While addressing the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association in Koforidua, president Akufo-Addo intimated that Akonta Mining was not engaged in illegal mining activities “as we speak.”

The comment received harsh criticisms with some referring to the president as a clearing agent who absolves his appointees of any wrongdoing even before investigations are launched into accusations levelled against them.

Mr. Mahama scolded Akufo-Addo for the comments and wrote on his Facebook page that “the penchant by the president to absolve his appointees and other close associates of any wrongdoing as he has done with the ongoing investigations into the operations of Akonta Mining Company is a serious dent on the already deteriorating image of the Office of the President.”

But Mr. Jinapor intimated that “the President was speaking about the state of affairs [of the accusations levelled against Akonta Mining] at the time he made the comment” and in no way sought to absolve the mining firm owned by the Ashanti regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako.

Mr. Jinapor further stressed that president Akufo-Addo is still committed to fighting public sector corruption.

“Needless to point out that President Akufo-Addo’s extraordinary funding of anti-corruption institutions, the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, which as I speak, is investigating this matter, the passage of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), rapid investigations of allegations of corruption, and many more are testament to his remarkable record in the fight against corruption.”