In a press statement issued yesterday, the group pointed to research findings that show that often, it is the land owners who meet the kingpins and upon being paid or promised payment, quietly agree to look the other way or look on unconcerned as the criminality takes place.
OccupyGhana indicated that several of these land owners quietly earn regular incomes from the galamsey kingpins and that galamsey should be tackled from this angle.
“There is little doubt that holders of all kinds of interests in private lands in the mining areas are involved in this, including holders of allodial titles, such as the stools, skins and families” it stated.
OccupyGhana said it is time to take the fight of galamsey more directly to land owners, because without the land, there would be no galamsey.
“The law should provide that lands on which Galamsey is operated, should be treated as ‘tainted properties,’ having been used in or in connection with the commission of the offence. The law must give the state the power to confiscate all such lands, just like any other tainted property,” they explained.
They stressed that if an owner claims innocence, that person should bear the burden of satisfying a court that he had no notice of the crime, was not involved in it or that he did all that could be done to stop the Galamsey operations, especially by filing a police report at the time the illegal operations started.
The statement added that if the owner is unable to prove that, the court should make an order confirming the confiscation, then the state will be required to engage in replanting on the land and using it for other public purposes such as farming or even properly regulated artisanal mining.
The pressure group urged the President to lead the charge, not just for the amendment, but for the enforcement of the law when passed.
“Time is not on our side, and decisive action is required to save the nation from the danger that Galamsey portends, represents and causes to this dear nation” they stated.
The release reminded the president of the statement he made on July 10, 2017 staking his presidency on ending Galamsey, adding that ‘it will be a betrayal of the trust reposed on me if I fail to end this.’
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