The Small-Scale Miners Association in the Upper East Region has described the accusations levelled against the Upper East Region Minister, Stephen Yakubu, by a group calling itself the Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC) as falsehoods; an ill-intended attempt to dent the hard-earned reputation of authorities in the region.
The association said the group, DRAC, failed in its mandate as a “research and advocacy centre” and hates to see development in the region.
It could be recalled that the Development Research and Advocacy Centre based in the Upper East Region issued a press release accusing the Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu of turning his office into a business centre where mining transactions are done.
But in a another release sighted by a1radioonline.com, the small-scale miners are calling on the public to disregard the earlier presser by DRAC.
Below is the full release
DATE: 23rd JANUARY, 2023
SMALL-SCALE MINERS SIGNED AN OFFICIAL AGREEMENT WITH EARL INTERNATIONAL GROUP GHANA GOLD LIMITED TO RELINQUISH INTEREST IN THEIR SMALL-SCALE MINING CONCESSIONS.
RE: PETITION AGAINST HONOURABLE STEPHEN YAKUBU, UPPER EAST REGIONAL MINISTER, ON ALLEGATION OF ABUSE OF OFFICE, DEFRAUDING, ABETMENT OF CRIMES, AND FALSE REPRESENTATION AND ACTIVITIES OF EARL INTERNATIONAL GROUP GHANA GOLD LIMITED FORMERLY KNOWN AS SHAANXI MINING COMPANY LIMITED.
The attention of the small-scale miners who signed an agreement with Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited is drawn to a particular falsehood and ill¬-intended publication in some social media platforms by a certain questionable group called Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC) trying to dent the hard-earned reputation of some authorities and the small scale miners association of Talensi and we are by this rejoinder, writing to clear the air on the misinformation and the needless allegations raised. To make everything simple for the understanding of all and sundry, we will, first of all, wish to start with the background of this particular issue to aid the public in better appreciating the issue at hand.
The then Shaanxi Mining Company Limited contacted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a permit since the Minerals Commission had already given the company a license to undertake their large-scale mining activities.
The attention of the EPA was drawn to the fact that the company did not consult the small-scale miners before preparing to start their large-scale mining activities. This was inappropriate because the large-scale mining activities of the then Shaanxi Mining Company extended to the operational areas of some of the small-scale miners.
The EPA made it clear to the company that before they will be given a permit, the company needed to enter into an agreement with the small-scale miners so that we members of the small miners will not feel cheated. It was upon this that the EPA organized its first meeting at Akayet on December 2020. In attendance at the meeting were;
The former DCE, Hon Christopher Boatbil.
The small-scale miners
As stated earlier, the purpose of the meeting was to find an amicable solution to the problems of the small-scale miners and the then Shaanxi. The problem was the company’s large scale mining activities which even extended to the operational areas of the small scale miners without reaching out for an agreement with the latter.
The first meeting could not solve the problem and so there was the need for EPA to organize another meeting which they actually did but this time in Accra. This particular meeting was organized by the EPA for all concessionaires whose operational areas fell within the Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited mining lease.
As stated earlier, the meeting took place in Accra at Alisa Hotel.
The former DCE, Hon Christopher Boatbil, and Charles Taleog Ndanbon also attended this meeting.
It was in this meeting that we small scale miners of the Talensi District accepted to enter into an agreement with Earl International formerly called Shaanxi Mining Company. At this same meeting, the EPA suggested we small scale miners should select our leaders to start our negotiation with the company. Six (6) people were selected out of the thirty-eight (38) small scale miners to start with the negotiation.
Let it be noted that all this while, Charles Ndanbon was present with his lawyer. Both parties thus, Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited and the small-scale miners agreed to schedule another meeting for a proper negotiation, and this was how the first meeting in Accra concluded.
On the 30th of March 2021, the EPA organized a third meeting at the same Alisa Hotel in Accra to continue with the negotiations. In the negotiations, we small scale miners proposed 5% as royalties whereas Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited offered 1.5% earlier, and later settled on 1.7% as royalties. It should be noted that we did not agree to their 1.7% royalties offer.
In the same meeting, they also offered Ghc35, 000 to each concessionaire as goodwill which was out rightly rejected. Charles Ndanbon is known to have contacted his lawyer who wrote a letter to put an injunction on the negotiation with no reason to give for this stupid action of his. This particular move of his angered the EPA Boss to an extent that he was coerced to sack Charles Ndanbon from the meeting. It took the fervent plea from leadership of the small scale miners before he was brought back to the meeting.
Let it be again noted that negotiations did not end and so the EPA promised to organize another meeting to make sure negotiations were finalized which did not actually come off.
Upon the assumption into office of the Upper East Regional Minister, Hon Stephen Yakubu, we small scale miners in Talensi District decided to pay him a visit to congratulate him and welcome him to the region. In that visit, we small scale miners in the Talensi District complained to him about our inability to have our final meeting as promised by the EPA in order to finalize our negotiations with Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited and the affable Upper East Regional Minister, Hon Stephen Yakubu promised to organize a meeting as soon as possible to settle all grievances and true to his words, the Upper East Regional Minister organized a meeting promptly to settle issues around areas of;
- a) Yenyeya/pubortaaba vs Shaanxi mining company limited.
- b) Unique trespass issue
- c) Shaanxi moving into large scale mining
- d) Payment of good will and royalties.
In attendance to this vital meeting were;
Upper East Regional Minister, Hon Stephen Yakubu
Upper East Regional Coodinating Director, Alhaji Mahamadu A.Azonko
Former DCE, Talensi, Hon Christopher Boatbil
Regional Minerals Commission Officer, Tamale, Mr. Frimpong
Bolgatanga District Minerals commission Officer Mr. Dickson Achindiba
Upper East Regional EPA Director with two of this staff members.
Mr. Peter Basana
Mr. Naabil Boazie
Mr. Joseph Azumah Atule
Mr. Robert Tampoare Boazor
Mr. Kolog Zongdan Boyak (Polo)
Mr. Charles Taleog Ndanbon
Mr. Mohammed Naab
In this meeting, we members of the small scale miners threatened to attack the company and cause mayhem for taking over our concessions without any agreement from us.
The workaholic Upper East Regional minister, Hon Stephen Yakubu was coerced by this threat from us to meet the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Abu Jinapor to forestall peace between the feuding factions (small scale miners and Shaanxi mining company limited).
For the sake of peace and to also make sure all grievances were properly addressed, authority shut down the company for almost two weeks in order for an agreement to be reached between us small scale miners and the company. We small scale miners think this swift response from authority deserves commendation. The Regional Minister again organized another meeting after the two weeks shut down to still find solution to the outstanding problem on 26th June 2021. In attendance to this meeting too were;
- The Minerals Commission Accra (Head office)
- The Minerals Commission (Regional office Tamale)
- The mineral commission (District office Bolgatanga)
- Shaanxi mining company
- The small scale miners
- The DCE for Talensi, Hon. Christopher Boatbil
- The Presiding member for Talensi District, Hon. John Millim
- The EPA Regional Director, Bolgatanga.
- Regional coordinating council
It was at this meeting that the fervent intervention from the Regional Minister made the company to peg the royalties at 2%. It did not end here but the company agreed to again pay one million US dollars to the small scale miners as goodwill and for settlement of other related issues thus, YENYEYA/PUBORTAABA/ Unique Mining Group with the then Shaanxi etc. This particular timely intervention from the Regional Minister, Hon Stephen Yakubu was to forestall peace among the two feuding factions and to also enable Earl International Group Ghana Gold limited to start with their large scale mining activities.
After all this back and forth, on the 12th of July 2021, all small scale miners who had their operational areas within the territory of Earl Intentional Group Ghana Gold Limited signed an official agreement with the company in the presence of the Upper East Regional Minister, Hon Stephen Yakubu, CEO of Minerals Commission, Mr. Martin Kwaku Ayisi serving as witness. The following people were also present and took part in the signing of the official agreement;
- Kwesi Appiah 8. Anthony Atiah
- Daani Stephen Dok 9. Joseph Azumah Atule
- John Bawa 10. Robert Boazor Tampoare
- Naab Godfred 11. Ayimbire Atig-yelesom
- Naab Simon 12. Peter Basana
- Zongdan Boyak Kolog (Polo) 13. Naabil Boazie
- Charles Taleog Ndanbon 14. Mohammed Naab
In present on the day of signing the official agreement with Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited was also the Technical person to the small scale miners, Mr. Peter Bassana.
Having given you the background as to how the whole process started in other for you to have thorough and comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand, let us go straight to the point to clear all doubts on the reckless, useless and time wasting allegations spewed by a group who called themselves Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC) and their coward paymasters who cannot bring their heads out because their stained credibility will not support them in the public domain:
ABUSE OF OFFICE
Their allegation that the Hon Regional Minister has turned his office into a business center where mining company transactions are done day in, and day out is not only misleading but a complete fabrication which should be thoroughly disregarded and told to the marines. They are empty without any prove and as it is always the case, the devil will always find work for the lazy man, and this is exactly what they are doing.
We are however not distracted nor perturbed at all. Let it be stated on record that the Minerals Commission did not ask Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited to pay compensation to us small scale miners as alleged. If they care to know, the Minerals Commission even gave the company the licence to operate as a large scale mining company in 2019 and ratified by Parliament without knowledge of the small scale miners. It was rather the EPA that refused to give the company a permit as requested by them with the reason that the small scale miners whose concessions fall within Earl International mining lease were not consulted before the company was given licence by the Minerals Commission to undertake large scale mining activities.
Also, we wish to state it categorically so that these shenanigans and their disappointed and disoriented paymasters know that small scale miners were never paid any compensation but rather goodwill. In case they do not know the difference between compensation and goodwill, we will remove this curse from them by giving them a small education here. If compensation is paid to someone, he or she vacates the vicinity for good but if it is goodwill, you will still be having your share until the life span of the company comes to an end. We want you people to know that we are still part of the company, and we have our share every six months till the operation of the company comes to an end.
This revelation alone should tell the general public that these howlers did not even know the subject matter they wrote about. As stated earlier, the process started even when the Hon. Regional Minister did not assume office but upon his assumption, we members of the small scale miners sent our grievances to him to be addressed and his fervent intervention made the company pay the goodwill to us and accept our proposal of 2%royalties. This intervention of his went a long way to settle the impasse between the company and the small scale miners.
Also, their allegation that the Regional Minister interfered to get the lump sum of the compensation paid into the bank account of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council is an arrant falsehood and is neither here nor there. It is never true that the Regional Minister coerced the company to pay any money through the Regional Coordinating Council but rather, it was agreed by everyone present in the meeting including us, members of the small scale miners, that it was the best way to do. We will at this point, advise the Regional Minister to take necessary steps to redeem his image since this clueless group is bent on tarnishing his reputation with no available evidence.
Again, their allegation that the Regional Minister paid money to nonexistent companies is unfathomable. The list was provided by the Minerals Commission and so far, we members of the small scale miners have not seen any non- existent company that has been paid. On this note, can the Regional Minister be held responsible with their baseless allegation of him paying money to nonexistent companies since it was the Minerals Commission that prepared the list and not the Regional Minister? They just don’t know what they are taking about.
Interestingly, they again alleged that some small scale mining concessionaires refused to collect the money because they were not happy about the way the Regional Minister and the Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited reached agreement for the compensation packages and the mode of payment which is also nothing but a blatant falsehood from a despicable group and their paymasters. If we may ask, can the group mention any other small scale mining group that refused to take the money apart from YENYEYA Mining Company Limited? Charles Ndanbon who is the owner of YENYEYA mining company limited was the only one who refused to take the compensation package and the reason is that, he was in court by then with the company doing his own negotiations. These frustrated people should spare us with the lies!
Another disgraceful allegation raised by these clueless people is their claim that the Regional Minister arm-twisted the small-scale miners to furnish the conference hall of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council with chairs from the compensation received. This is also an overt lie to distract people from the good works of the Regional Minister. We furnished the conference hall out of our own good will upon a plea from the CEO of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Martin Kwaku Ayisi and not a force from the Regional Minister. Our shock is however that, all those who are complaining did not take part in the contribution to furnish the conference hall and we the people who did are not complaining so what is their point? Where is their source of worry? We implore all and sundry to disregard them thoroughly! The chairs were a donation from us and if you even visit the conference hall of the Regional Coordinating Council, you will see at the back of the chairs boldly written “Donated by Small scale miners, Talensi”. A letter was even written to thank us for our kind gesture.
On their allegation of defraud, it appears to us, members of the small-scale miners, that they have completely no idea of what they seem to be talking about. First of all, their first allegation on the matter of defraud, that Unique Mining Group had issues with Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited is a complete lie and should be given no attention as they are seeking. It is never true that Unique Mining Group had problems with Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited. Unique Mining Company Limited had problems with Shaanxi Mining Company Limited. The group should do due diligence to know the difference please.
Also, their allegation that 150,000 US dollars was paid to settle an impasse between Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited and Unique Mining Group deserves no other place than the deepest part of the dirtiest dustbin in the World. It cannot, will not and is never true that 150,000 US dollars was paid to settle the impasse as mentioned above but rather, as stated earlier, it was part of the one (1) million US dollars that was paid by the company upon the intervention of the Regional Ministers was to also cater for the settlement of the impasse between the two feuding factions.
Also, their wild allegation that the Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, His Royal Highness, Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang was a witness to the payment of this so called 150,000 US dollars by the company is not only disgraceful but a clandestine insult to our traditional authority and we will implore these reckless group, if for nothing at all, they should at least spare our revered traditional rulers with their concocted lies and fabrications. At no point was our revered Paramount Chief part of our negotiations and so is not a witness to the payment of any money.
Let it be stated in plain language without any form of equivocation that, 150,000 US dollars equivalent in Ghana cedis was not paid to Mr. Robert Boazor Tampoare however, this money was paid to him to settle some disputes and it was directed by the company and not the Hon. Regional Minister as alleged. Earlier, Mr. Robert Boazor Tampoare received Ghc150,000 on behalf of Unique Mining Group which all the members are aware and benefited from it so their allegation that the Regional Minister connived with Mr. Robert Boazor Tampoare to defraud members of the Unique Mining Group has no locus. The account is not unknown to members of the group because their previous money was paid through the same account
ABETMENT OF CRIMES;
This pitiable group called Development Advocacy and Research Centre (DRAC) and their disappointed paymasters in their incessant desire to tarnish the unblemished image of the Regional Minister and our own selves are still alleging that Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited paid 1 million U S dollars to small scale miners to compensate them for the takeover of their concessions. This is a complete fabrication and should be rejected promptly. There was no 1 million US dollar that was paid again apart from the one we accounted for earlier. We are challenging any of you to prove us wrong if you have any evidence.
In addition to that, their allegation that the Regional Minister had in his possession, a cadastral map comprising 38 small scale mining concessions out of which 17 of them are non- existent companies orchestrated by the Regional Minister in order to benefit from the proceeds of these so called “fake” companies is a vehement lie and should be told to the marines. To set the record straight, the cadaster map came from the Minerals Commission and not the Regional Minister so where on earth could he be crucified for this? Let it be stated in plain language that the cadaster map existed before the appointment of the Regional Minister and could not have orchestrated the entry of 17 non- existent companies into that cadaster map to benefit from their proceeds.
They are again alleging that most of the concessionaires mentioned on the cadaster map cannot be traced at the registrar generation department and we are challenging them to provide us with the names of those concessionaires because we are not aware of anything of that sort.
It is vital to add that, it is inhuman and dishonest to falsely allege that some concessions which are known to have been taken over by Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited were not listed on the cadastral map. It is not only laughable but wrongly stated with ill-intent. Truth be told, Bokre Batrim they sighted to buttress their point had processed his documents to Accra, but it was an oversight from the Minerals Commission that is why his name was not captured. This particular issue was even raised by us in our first meeting in January2021 at Accra and his name was subsequently added so what is the group insinuating? We will advise them to always get their facts clear before alleging. Let it also be made clear to them that our checks from the Regional Minister has it that any name in the cadaster whose owner cannot be found will not be paid so what are their sources of worry?
Interestingly, in their quest to damage every hardworking appointee’s reputation, they are again alleging that the DCE for Talensi, Hon. Thomas Pearson Wuni Duanab also wants to use the tricks of the Regional Minister by coercing small scale miners to open an escrow accounts through the Talensi District Assembly to enable them receive their royalties and we think this is another lies from a self-seeking, disgraceful and shameless group and their arrogant paymasters. We are once again challenging them to vindicate themselves by giving us any concrete evidence where he gave this directive.
The DCE is not part of us and is therefore not interested in how our money is to be paid, granted we understand ourselves. However, he cautioned us that the Talensi District Assembly will be forced to open an escrow account for us in the event that we do not understand ourselves in order to prevent mayhem.
Having responded to their allegations, let us state in brief the benefits that the District and the Region have gotten as a result of the migration of the company from small scale mining company to large one;
- The company has built an extra modern school in the mining site and pictures are all over the internet for your perusal.
- The company was able to increase its labour complement from the earlier 645 to 907 people meaning about 262 people have been added.
- The company again donated two pickups to the Upper East Regional Police Command to help in their operations etc.
We wish to at this point thank the Upper East Regional Minister, Hon. Stephen Yakubu, EPA Bolgatanga and Accra for their swift intervention when we had lost all hope by then. We must state categorically that their intervention gave birth to;
- i) The company’s acceptance to pay 2% royalties to the small scale miners until the end of the company’s life span.
- ii) The company through the Minerals Development Fund provided furniture to schools like Gbane, Zanwore, Yameriga, Tola, Dataku etc. all within the Talensi District.
In conclusion, we members of the small scale miners are angry, annoyed, wild and above all perturbed about these broad day fabrications levelled against our revered authorities and ourselves and we want as a matter of urgency, this fake group and their paymaster come out using the same platform, to apologise unreservedly to us otherwise we will appropriately advise ourselves.
(Zonal Secretary, Talensi Small Scale Miners Association)
Attached are people you can contact for more information concerning the issue at hand;
- Tampoare Robert Boazor, Upper East Regional Small Scale Miners Association Chairman (0245988572)
- Joseph Azumah Atule, Zonal Secretary, Talensi Small Scale Miners Association (0248763048)
- Lolig Victor (0244098832)
- Atia Anthony (0246981276)
- Naabil Boazie (0547837730)
- Kwesi Appiah (0553131630)
- John Bawa (0246910229)
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1 MHz|Moses Apiah|Ghana