Western Region Galamsey ‘Supper Star’ Grabbed
A popular small-scale miner in the Western Region, whose operations have been become bane in the lives of people in some mining communities in the region leading to series of petitions against him to vacate the area, has been arrested.
Nana Amponsah, popularly known as Okobengwas picked up on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 for allegedly engaged in illegal mining otherwise called ‘Galamsey’ in the Nzema East municipality and Prestea enclave as well as shooting some miners with a gun.
He was arrested by officers from Regional Intelligence Unit of the Ghana Police Service at a programmeorganized by the Western Regional Health Directorate in Takoradi.
The Anchor has gathered, the police intelligence picked the information that the suspect, who is on their wanted lists is at Akroma Plaza in Takoradi where the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was holdingitsAnnual Performance Review meeting to receive award.
As a result, the police acted swiftly and deployed their men to the venue, where the suspect was whisked away and detained him at Takoradi Central Police Station.
The embattled businessman, according to sources has been on the police wanted lists for some time now without recourse to his whereabouts.
Okobeng who is a household name in the Western region, particularly in Gwira and Wassa traditional area, has been accused of engaging in galamsey, destroying water bodies and degrading the land.
He has also been accused of threatening and assaulting farmers and sometimes injuring some of them on the account that they have trespassed his mining concession in GwiraBanso, Ampansie, Tumentu, Abruodiem among others sites.
At the moment, two of his victims are battling for their lives after the suspect allegedly opened gunfire on them.
The victims, RocksonAsuo and DziwornuAgbado confirmed, they were shot by Nana AmponsahOkobeng, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Okobeng Mining Limited for allegedly intruding his concession.
Rockson, a 34-year-old man and father of three is still battling with life-threatening injuries following the gun brutality on him.
This paper is informed, the incident occurred at a village called Ampansie under Nzema East Municipality on July 14, 2022, but the victims have been left to their fate, even after the matter was reported to the Police in Axim and Takoradi.
It is the hope of many in the region that the latest arrest will ensure the suspect is made to face the law for the victims to get justice.
Meanwhile, Western Regional directorate of Ghana Health Service (GHS) has revokedwith immediate effect, an earlier award to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Okobeng Mining Company Limited, Nana OkobengAmponsah.
According to the GHS, the company has been cited in a series of petitions by the chiefs and people of Prestea for acts that run counter to the principles behind the award.
The GHS in a letter said,the operations of the mining firm which includes environmental degradation,have significant implicationsof health on the people and therefore, cannot associate themselves with the operations of the company.
Interestingly, there vocationcomes barely two days after Mr. Okoben Amponsah picked the award during an Annual Performance Review ceremony organized by the regional health directorate.
Theletter, intercepted by The Anchor dated Thursday, March 30, and signed by the Western Regional Director of Health Service Dr. Yaw Ofori Yeboah, also accused Okoben Mining CEO of making some misrepresentations in the media relative to the award.
“In view of the above revelations and the misrepresentations made in the media, we hereby unreservedly revoke the award presented to you on 28th March, 2023 and disassociate ourselves from the operations of your company,” excerpts of the letter stated.
Explaining circumstances for the award, the letter explained, “The Western Regional Health Directorate routinely honours individuals for their support to the health sector as part of our Annual Performance Review process. Your name was submitted among others for consideration this year”.
“However, following the award presented to you on 28/03/2023, we have received numerous complaints with copious evidence against you and the operations of your Company Limited. This includes environmental degradation which has significant implications for health.
We have also cited petitions by Chiefs and the youth of the area against your company for acts that run counter to the principles behind our award”.