The embattled Benkumhene of Asamang Tamfoe Traditional Area, Nana Boakye Darkwa, is demanding a refund of a total amount of GH¢115,000 mining proceeds given to Ofori Panin Fie out of mining in the community.
According to him, the amount was paid on October 7, 2022, as a goodwill money which was duly collected and acknowledged by the Ofori Panin Fie.
The amount was paid from the account the community opened to collect contributions from miners in the community mining scheme for social corporate responsibility interventions.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, the Benkumhene explained that “as part of a corporate social responsibility agreement the community has with the miners, which Xtra Gold is privy to, some mandatory monies were paid by the miners and which is lodged in an accredited account in the name of the community. Asamang -Tamfoe recognizing and acknowledging the throne of the Ofori Panin forked out 115,000 Ghana cedis on 7/10/2022 as a goodwill money to Ofori Panin Fie”
The Benkumhene, therefore, stated that, if the Judicial Committee, chaired by Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, describes the community mining program as illegal mining, hence his destoolment, then, should refund the money since it was from its proceeds.
Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin has ordered the destoolment of Benkumhene of Asamang Tamfoe Nana Boakye Darkwa over illegal mining.
This was after some residents in the community calling itself Concerned Citizens of Asamang Tamfoe petitioned the Akyem Abuakwa judicial council on November 9, 2022, accusing the chief of engaging in illegal mining under the guise of community mining, polluting rivers and degrading farmlands, threatening food security and the livelihood of smallholder farmers.
The petition was submitted weeks after some illegal miners in Asamang Tamfoe clashed with the Okyeman Environmental Taskforce on anti-galamsey operations in the community, leading to an exchange of gunshots on the streets.
Subsequently, the Benkumhene held a press conference on October 6, 2022, calling the bluff of Okyeman Environmental taskforce led by Chief of Akyem Apapam, Osabarima Apagya Ofori IV, and dared to violently clash with them should they return to the community to perpetuate same.
Acting on the petition, the Akyem Abuakwa Judicial Council summoned the Chief of Asamang-Tamfoe Osabarima Kwame Koh II and the Benkumhene Nana Boakye Darkwa to appear before it on 21st November 2022 for hearing which they complied.
During the court proceedings, the Benkumhene of Asamang-Tamfoe Nana Boakye Darkwa was asked by the Akyem Abuakwa judicial council that on whose authority did he act to organize the press conference on 6th October 2022 since the Chief of Asamang-Tamfoe Osabarima Kwame Koh II was in Kumasi on the said date.
Secondly, he was confronted with a Daily Graphic’s publication in which he threatened the Okyeman Environmental Taskforce.
The Benkumhene admitted guilt and lied prostrate to apologize to Okyenhene and Akyem Abuakwa traditional council.
Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin who chaired the Akyem Abuakwa Judicial Council made consequential orders for the removal of the Benkumhene.
“I order that the Benkumhene should not remain as the Benkumhene because he has defied the orders that I instructed the taskforce to protect the Akyem lands from all illegal mining activities”.
“The destruction of lands and water bodies going on at Asamang-Tamfoe, are you happy? You did something wrong and Okyenhene called you and you refused to come, because of galamsey all our water bodies are destroyed in even Kyebi here, the same as Tamfoe, I am not interested in mining, I hate it” Okyenhene fumed.
However, Benkumhene of Asamang -Tamfoe is challenging the alleged destoolment stating that the trial was unfairly done in kangaroo manner with no opportunity for defense.
He denied flatly accusation that he was engaging in illegal mining stating that, as a former district best cocoa farmer he has never been interested in mining but was made chairman for the community mining in order to ensure responsible mining.
“If the Okyenhene has concluded that I am an illegal miner, then I urge him to report me to the relevant national and appropriate institutions for redress. That, I have never been into mining and will never go into mining despite its lucrative nature for no reason whatsoever because in 2018 I was adjudged the best district cocoa farmer in Atiwa West. I can therefore not renege on this honour by encouraging the destruction of Cocoa farms”
He further said ” finally, I declare and state without any equivocation that, I did not prostrate as a sign of remorsefulness or guilt but as a sign of rendering an underserved reverence because considering the venue of the gathering, any form of resistance and insistence on not being guilty would not have resulted in any peaceful reactions.
The Benkumhene, Nana Boakye Darkwa stated in his conclusion that “I am still the de-factor Benkumhene of Asamang Tamfoe and still stand by the contents of the press conference the Okyenhene referenced instead of his agenda for the day which he prosecuted”.
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