Private Legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini says the government’s defence on the burning of excavators as opposed to seizing them as required by the law has no legal basis.
Speaking on Top Story, he stated that if the government with all its powers believe equipment when seized will go back to the original owners after a while then they have failed.
“The state passed laws that say that if you find equipment or machinery or any products on an illegal mining site, it should go through a certain process and the law laid down the process so nicely. Why was that law made? All the defences you hear have no legal basis.”
“Why do we make the laws? Why did the government make the law that said that if you bring in an excavator and you are taking it into a mining site it has to be fitted with a gadget so that it can be traced to the specific place? Also, annually those who operate these excavators must pay certain fees annually for the purposes of monitoring and that if you break the law you could pay as much as $5000.”
His comment comes after the Minister for Information said that the argument about the legality of burning excavators and mining equipment should not be encouraged.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said that there are common and customary laws in Ghana adding, “this newfound argument that once you can’t say Section 3 of Act something it is not law is a very dangerous argument.”
However, Mr Anyenini said that the laws were made to be followed, adding that if the focus of creating the laws were customary and common laws then there would have been no written law, to begin with.
He stated that it is not right for the government to pass laws they expect the citizens to comply with, and instead, use illegal means to fight illegal mining in the name of protecting the environment.
“When you went to Parliament to make the law you made it for a purpose. You have people who have been trained as lawyers, some of them have had the opportunity to train and practice as lawyers, and they are going about acting lawlessly. They say it’s ok because we have to save our environment. Who says you can’t use the law to save it.”
The Newsfile host added that if seized and distributed to state agencies as required by the law, these equipment will serve the country well.
“When the wisdom in the law distributes them to state entities that need them, do you know what that means? If the district assembly in my village gets one excavator to the people, a lot of their stress will be taken away.”
“They need tarred roads but they don’t have them, when the season comes when they cannot even get the goods they make, to the nearest markets for sale. All they need is a small excavator that will clear the path for them.”