Okobeng Mines CEO Opened Gunfire
A 34-year-old man and father of three is currently battling for his life, with life-threatening wounds, following an alleged gun attack on him by a popular small-scale miner based in the Western Region, for allegedly trespassing on his mining concession.
The victim, Rockson Asuo, said he was shot personally, together with one Dziwornu Agbado, by Nana Amponsah Okobeng, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Okobeng Mining Limited, for allegedly intruding on a mining area he claimed belongs to him.
He said the incident occurred at a village called Ampansie, in the Nzema East Municipality, on July 14, this year, but has been left to his fate, even after the matter was reported to the police in Axim and Takoradi.
Narrating his ordeal on Accra-based United Television, (UTV), the father of three, who is currently bedridden, said he is unable to do anything, because he still has one of the bullets in his body, which is yet to be removed.
“Up till now I still have the bullet stuck in my body. We have done all we can but we brought this issue to the regional commander in Sekondi and he handed it over to the Axim Divisional Commander, but till date nothing has been heard,” he said.
The distressed victim, who has his children, wife and parents to cater for, has now been rendered useless, as he is unable to go to the farm as he used to.
The helpless man, who has no legal representation in the case, is calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, to launch an investigation into the matter for him to get justice, since he is being handed a raw deal by the police because of the powerful status of the miner.
Rockson said the case was initially reported to the Regional Commander in Takoradi, following which the police chief handed the matter to the Axim Divisional Commander but, unfortunately, he has failed to get him the needed outcome.
The businessman, on the other hand, has not been heard of, while he, the victim, continues to live with the bullet in his body.
“As a breadwinner, I have three children, my wife, father and my mother to cater for, but due to this injury, I am unable to perform my responsibilities. As I sit here, I have no strength to work and that is why we have come here so the authorities can come to our aid. They should investigate the matter and tell us if this is lawful. I am just a farmer,” the victim pleaded.
It is however unclear if he was a target or it was accidental. But according to Rockson, he has resorted to the media because efforts to get the police to act have proved futile.
While explaining his ordeal to UTV, Rockson said the small-scale miner, who is often in the news for mostly wrong reasons, is so powerful that in the communities, he is feared by all.
He said his mere presence in their area scares everyone.
“The entire area, everyone is afraid of Okobeng. The moment you hear he’s coming you have to run for your life. If you dare come out, he has his security behind him and they do as they please with their guns or whatever that is at their disposal. He can fire, and school pupils will be running for safety. We have tried all what we can but nothing is working for me,” he laments.
Meanwhile, a witness and landlord of the victim, who also gave his account of the incident, said his tenant was wounded, together with one other person, after which they were sent to a clinic for medical attention.
He said they subsequently went to the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital for attention, adding that “Since then, nothing has been heard.”
“I returned from the farm around 11:30, and then I heard gunshots, so I ran to the banks of the Ankobrah River. About 10 minutes then, I was informed that one of the people living in my house, Okobeng’s gun has hit him.
“Then I asked if he is dead. They said no, he is not dead. So, I had to hire one of the speedboats to visit him. We brought them back home, but he still didn’t look good, was afraid he may die. I hired okada (bicycle) to Sama clinic. The nurse on duty told us she can remove the bullet in the body of Asuo Rockson, but Dziwornu’s can only be done in the big hospital. When the incident happened, the two had their brothers go with us to the Sekondi regional commander. They were given hospital forms, so we went to Effia Nkwanta, then the matter was referred to the Axim Divisional Commander.
“The regional commander asked us if Okobeng wants to pay compensation what will we do, then I told him we will go home and discuss, but, since then, nothing has been heard,” he narrated.
Ankobra River Pollution
It would be recalled that, The Anchor, in its last edition, reported how the Ankobra River is heavily-polluted as a result of alleged mining activities by Okobeng Mining at the banks of the river.
The alleged activities by the mining firm, whose concession is located at Atongo, near Gwira Ampansie and Dominase communities, have left the source of major water bodies for residents in a very sorry state, but the company insists it has all requisite permits to operate, even though government has declared water bodies and forest reserves as red zones.
A recent visit to the company’s site saw excavators busily operating with impunity, just at the banks of the Ankobra River, under a tight security protection by some private individuals.
This paper could count not less than five excavators, digging out the mineral deposits in a form of mud from the ground, very close to the river, in what appeared to be alluvia mining operation.
Multiple videos and pictures, captured at different locations of the concession, which are all in the possession of this paper, show the extent of destruction caused to the environment, particularly the Ankobra River.
It is however unclear, if the attention of the authorities tasked to fight against irresponsible mining in the country has been drawn to the unfortunate operations of this company, owned by Nana Okobeng Amponsah.
Residents say, several concerns raised against operations of the company, which has been operating in the area for sometime now, have yielded no result.
According to them, the community has been living in fear due to fire arms often displayed by staff of the company, a situation which deters them to confront the management.
This claim was confirmed during this paper’s visit, when the CEO himself was spotted and captured on video, holding a pump-action gun on his shoulder and patrolling the concession during one of his visits to the site.
Interestingly, even before the story on pollution of the river bodies could be published, the CEO of the company hurriedly assembled some journalists and briefed them on the matter.
“I want to set the records straight today that these allegations leveled against my company are completely false, unfounded and cooked. Having being the law abiding citizen who has dully registered and secured the certified necessary legal licenses or documents from the various state mining regulatory institutions including the Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and have been mining gold resource for the past twenty-five (25) years in Ghana, he would be the last person to do something to destroy water bodies. I respect the water bodies.”
“I dared anyone who knows the concession to go and verify how my company carries its responsible gold mining activities and see if its mining activities destroy water bodies as being claimed by these of my destructors,” he told journalists on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.
According to him, he legally secured various necessary licences from the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency to mine gold at Dominase and that his company’s operations are confined in the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006. Act703.
More to Come…