Chief Justice designates 14 courts to deal with galamsey
Ghana’s Chief Justice has designated 14 courts to deal with all mining offences committed under the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703, given a boost to the fight against illegal mining also known as “galamsey”.
The court which was is made up of 7 High Courts and 7 Circuit Courts will independently handle all cases related to illegal mining that is destroying Ghana's water bodies, vegetation and arable lands.
In a statement copied to the thebftonline.com and signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong Her Ladyship the C.J. Georgina Wood, said the designation of the courts is in furtherance of “the recent groundswell of public revulsion and media and civil society advocacy against the menace of illegal mining, commonly referred to as “galamsey”.
“As an institution committed to the Rule of Law, we are prepared to lend our support to this renewed fight against illegal mining to stamp out the menace and thereby protect the country’s natural resources, particularly our water bodies, for the current and future generations,” the statement said.
According the statement from the CJ, the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 900) has introduced new offences which confer jurisdiction on the High Courts and Circuit Courts to deal with all offences related to mining and the court designated will perform the functions as such.
In view of this, the Hon. Lady Chief Justice has to this end designated seven (7) High Courts located in Accra, Sekondi, Kumasi, Cape Coast, Koforidua, Sunyani and Bolgatanga to deal with all mining offences committed under the Minerals and Mining Act, (Act 703).
The Circuit courts according to the statement shall exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the High Court.
The office of the CJ further noted that, Judges who will be manning these courts will receive regular training to give them a better appreciation of the legal issues involved in illegal mining to enable them to handle cases efficiently in their courts and impose sentences commensurate with the offences.
“In the future, depending on the number of cases that will come up for trial, the Judiciary may increase the courts and number of Judges to ensure that the courts are not overwhelmed by the volume of work and that the cases are dealt with expeditiously,” said the statement.
The call for illegal mining has been intensified with the media, civil society and the legislature plus some members of the executive openly speaking against the practice by raising awareness on the need to preserve our natural resources.
Meanwhile the government has also increased measures to clamp down on the menace of galamsey with many Chinese nationals feared to be the worst culprits.
The activities of the illegal (galamsey) miners have caused severe pollution to the country’s fresh water bodies forcing the Ghana Water Company to shut down some of its treatment plants and destroyed arable lands.