President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the amended illegal mining law has had to take away some discretions of judges because they have not been helpful to the fight against galamsey.
At a meeting with the Council of State on Monday, 19 August 2019, the President said he gave his assent to the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019.
The Act has amended the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), and has increased the penalties for a person who buys or sells minerals without a licence or without a valid authority. The Act has also increased the penalties for a person who engages in mining contrary to a provision of the Act.
The President said: “We are talking about minimum sentences of 15 years, maximum 25 years [for persons involved in illegal mining]. We have increased the punishment for foreigners who intervene illegally in this industry.”
According to the President, “We felt that we have to take away some of the discretion of the judges. It’s unfortunate that it should be so because all of us should be able to trust them to do their bit in stamping out crime and its consequences in our society. But that doesn’t turn out to be the case. So, this is another important step that we’ve taken in this fight against illegal mining”.
Touching on the need for greater discipline and the case for stronger institutions, President Akufo-Addo said: “My own belief is that, apart from exhortations we need also to strengthen the institutional arrangements because many of these things that happen are the result of delinquency on the part of the state itself.”