‘I shed tears when I was tagged with galamsey’ – Okyenhene Osagyefo Ofori Panin breaks silence

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The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amotia Ofori Panin, has stated that he was upset by allegations that he indulged in galamsey in 2014.

He said that the charges devastated him and that he had yet to heal.

In an interview with Asaase Radio in Accra, the Okyenhene stated individuals who made the charges at the time knew they were false but went forward with it nevertheless.

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“The point is, Article 257(6) [of the Constitution] places all the natural resources in their [central government] hands for protection for future generations. They need to protect them. We [the chiefs] do not have coercive force. I tried to use my people to drive them away and we were facing danger every day and people didn’t know.”

“At one time in my relationship with the then Chief of Defence Staff, I begged him. I said it [galamsey] was getting out of hand and we should probably organise some of the military people to come here [Kyebi]. They did and within a week the whole thing has been shut down. A week later they [the politicians] called them [military] and said ‘don’t you know it’s an election year?”

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“So I’ve shed tears of anger and frustration where I sit about this and to the point that somebody will even say that I was engaged in galamsey. My answer to them is, I own all the lands, if I want to do galamsey, why would I want to go and steal it? I would go to the Minerals Commission and say I’m going to my land just give me the licence,” he added.

“So the pain I shed was people not speaking the truth; lying about it all over.”

The Okyenhene, on the other hand, praised the president for his bravery in dealing with the country’s illicit mining problem.

“The thing today is that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has the bravery to speak about it and lessen the galamsey issues in our country.” He may have lost some votes, but it’s more about voter safety than it is about votes.”

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