Akrokerri chiefs mad @ AngloGold, assembly

The Akrokerri Divisional Council has descended heavily on mining giant AngloGold Ashanti and the Obuasi Municipal Assembly over the inability of the mining company to release land and other property it is no longer using to it.

This action of AngloGold Ashanti, in the view of the council, has deprived them of critical stool lands revenue needed to further the development of the traditional area.

Speaking at an information sharing session on Mineral Revenue Utilisation, jointly organised by Shaft FM and the Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS) with funding from STAR Ghana, Nana Kofi Berchie, Regent of Akrokerri, accused AngloGold Ashanti of breaching the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) by releasing its property to the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, instead of giving such property to the Akrokerri Divisional Council, rightful owners of the land on which they undertake their operations.

The information sharing session with the Akrokerri Divisional Council was part of activities under the “Yen Sika, Yen Daakye” Project being implemented by Shaft FM and CeSIS.

He further lashed out at the AGA for doing very little to develop the Obuasi areas where it operates.

An angry Nana Berchie did not also spare the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, accusing it of spending mineral revenue on what he describes as “unnecessary” projects like the Obuasi Entrance Arch, which cost the Assembly over GH¢89,000. “Mineral revenue should be used solely for development projects, not these grandiose projects, which have no bearing on the livelihoods of the people,” he fumed.

He also disclosed that since November 2012, mineral royalty had not been released to Nananom, and this has impeded their ability to respond to the development challenges of communities in their traditional area. The Akrokerri Divisional Council remains a shining example of how chiefs can develop their areas when given the resources.

The council, over a decade ago, used its share of mineral royalty to construct the Asare Bediako Senior High School, before it was later transferred to the Ghana Education Service.

Currently, the council is constructing water closet toilets in the Akrokerri town, as part of a programme to phase out all old toilets, which are considered unhygienic. Furthermore, all street lights in the town were fixed by the council from its share of mineral royalty.

A new palace is also under construction for the Queenmother, and that each year the council provides scholarships to five needy but brilliant students to go through Senior High School, and one student to a tertiary institution. The council believes that if it has been able to undertake development for the town from its meagre share of mineral royalty, the Adansi North District and Obuasi Municipal assemblies should be able to do more for the people.

The Queenmother, Nana Serwaa Bruwaa, bemoaned the fact that Obuasi takes a huge chunk of the mineral royalties that are paid, though according to her, Obuasi does not suffer any major impacts from mining as other areas within the district. She, again, accused AngloGold Ashanti of failing to employ the youth of the mining affected communities in her district, but rather employing non-indigenes.

In a presentation, Mr. Richard Ellimah, Executive Director of CeSIS and the Project Coordinator, appealed to Nananom to be open and declare their share of mineral royalty to prevent the constant harassment they suffer from their subjects, regarding how much they get from the mining companies.

He stated that the 9 percent of mineral royalty that is returned to the district to be shared by the district assemblies and traditional authorities is woefully inadequate, and proposed an upward adjustment to at least 30 percent.

This, when done, will empower the district assemblies to be able to provide the much-needed development projects for mining affected communities. The General Manager of Shaft FM, Ms. Victoria Owusu, urged the chiefs to be more proactive and demand their due from the mining companies, instead of waiting for things to get out of hand before complaining .

Source : The Chronicle

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