The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has commissioned an investigation into an alleged gold smuggling syndicate, uncovered in a Joy News Documentary.
Additionally, the Minister has directed the Precious Minerals Marketing Company and Minerals Commission to liaise with the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ghana Airports Company and other relevant state institutions to come out with recommendations for institutional reforms, in order to plug the loopholes in gold export.
Mr Jinapor announced this in a media interview when he paid a working visit to the headquarters of the Minerals Commission in Accra.
The visit allowed the Minister to engage with the Management and staff of the Commission on their operational challenges and find ways to improve the quality of service rendered to the public.
The Joy News Documentary christened, ‘Busted: Gold Smugglers’ Cartel Evade Tax’, chronicled how tonnes of gold were exported through the country’s airport and seaports, with the assistance of some security operatives, shipping agents and politically connected individuals.
Government in 2018 announced that US$5 billion of Ghana’s gold was exported to the United Arab Emirates without paying the requisite taxes to the state.
Mr Jinapor said: “The criminal investigation is one bit and clearly, within the purview of the Ghana Police Service and I have triggered the jurisdiction and mandate of the Police Service to do the investigation.”
Early on, the Minister entreated the Management of the Minerals Commission to decentralise the issuance of gold licences for mining concessions.
The action, he said, would go a long way to minimise the illegal small-scale mining, otherwise known as ‘galamsey’.
The Minister recounted some successes chalked by the Akufo-Addo-led government in its first term towards curbing illegal small-scale mining such as the training of illegal small-scale miners, introduction of Community Mining Scheme, and Legislative Framework in tackling galamsey.
He noted that the fight against galamsey required multi-faceted approach, devoid of partisan politics or propaganda.
Martin Ayisi, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, on behalf of management and staff, pledged the loyalty and sincerity of the Commission, saying they would work extra hard to achieve the President’s goals for the mining sector.
Some staff proposed some administrative reforms at the Commission to enhance efficiency.