Li Wen Qieng, 28 (left) and Mo Sin Shan, 35, after their arrest for their involvement in galamsey operations on Cocoa Board land at Wassa Akropong. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
Two Chinese nationals are in the grip of the National Security for allegedly destroying land belonging to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).
Li Wen Qieng, 28, and Mo Sin Shan, 35, were arrested in Wassa Saman in the Wassa Mampong District in the Western Region on Saturday, October 22, 2016.
Briefing the media, the Deputy Intelligence Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Wisdom Delali Amehame, said a security guard of the Seed Production Department of the COCOBOD spotted the two who had erected canopies and were using two bulldozers to clear the land for mining.
He, therefore, alerted the Intelligence Department of COCOBOD and with the assistance of the police, the two were arrested.
However, the two were released on bail because the Wassa Akropong Police could not get anyone to translate from Chinese to English for the suspects to be interrogated.
Mr Amehame said the two then went back to the parcel of land and continued with the clearing of about 4.5 acres that night.
The attention of officials of COCOBOD was once again drawn to the activities of the two and they once again caused the arrest of the suspects.
Mr Amehame said with the help of an interpreter, they were able to find out that the two had come into the country by the invitation of a Ghanaian, popularly known as “Wonder” of Wonder Mining Company Limited.
“Wonder” led the two to the land of the COCOBOD for them to start their illegal activity in their bid to mine for gold.
“Wonder” also stood bail for the two when they were first arrested.
Mr Amehame explained that upon the rearrest and interrogation of the two, “Wonder” got the hint that he had been found out and therefore absconded.
The Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Noah Amenyah, said illegal mining was taking a toll on the cocoa sector in the country.
Farmers had had to part with their farms because of the activities of illegal miners, he added.
Mr Amenyah tasked the National Security to take action.
“If no action is taken there will be no cocoa industry in some years to come,” he said.
A WOEFUL ‘WONDER’ AT WASSA
By CAMERON DUODU
On 25 October 2016 the Daily Graphic reported that two Chinese nationals Li Wen Qieng, 28 and Mo Sin Shan, 35, were arrested on 22 October 2016 “”for allegedly destroying land belonging to the Ghana Cocoa Board” at Wassa Saman in the Wassa Mampong District of the Western Region.
According to the report, the Deputy Intelligence Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Wisdom Amehame, said a security guard of the Seed Production Department of the COCOBOD spotted the two, “who had erected canopies and were using two bulldozers to clear the land for mining.”
He alerted the Intelligence Department of COCOBOD and with the assistance of the police, the two were arrested. However, the two were released on bail because the Wassa Akropong Police could not get anyone to translate from Chinese to English for the suspects to be interrogated.
The report went on: “Mr Amehame said the two [Chinese nationals] then went back to the parcel of land and continued with the clearing of about 4.5 acres that night.
The attention of officials of COCOBOD was once again drawn to the activities of the two and they once again caused the arrest of the suspects. [This time] with the help of an interpreter, they were able to find out that the two had come into the country by the invitation of a Ghanaian, popularly known as “Wonder” of Wonder Mining Company Limited.” “Wonder” was the person who “led the two to the land of the COCOBOD, for them to start their illegal activity – mining for gold. “Wonder” was also the person who stood bail for the two [Chinese nationals] when they were first arrested. But upon the re-arrest and interrogation of the two,“Wonder” got the hint that he had been “found out, and therefore absconded.”
This story illustrates the sheer incompetence and unconcern with which the galamsey calamity that is destroying our water-bodies and farms are viewed by some of the state institutions of Ghana that should be protecting our natural heritage from being wantonly despoiled by foreigners with the active connivance of unpatriotic Ghanaian
THE UNSEEN DANGER THAT WE CURRENTLY FACE IN GHANA
By CAMERON DUODU
Danger comes to a country in many shapes and forms.
Economic danger is perhaps the most common. The country’s exports cannot pay for its imports; so it borrows money to buy imports; interest is charged on the money it borrows; (the worse its economic position, the higher the interest rate); and if things continue like that over a long period, the country cannot borrow any more money from overseas lenders.
What happens when a country becomes “bankrupt” in this way? You see queues everywhere. Queues for petrol; queues for milk and sugar, and soap and toothpaste and toilet rolls. Worse, the hospitals run short of drugs and spare parts for their equipment.
Such shortages make life totally unbearable. And the talented people who cannot bear the daily depredations, and are able to do so, leave the country. Those who stay behind find themselves drained of every ounce of the self-confidence necessary to rebuild the country. So the country begins to chase its own tail.
Believe me: I am not telling you a “toli”! Those old enough have seen such things actually happen in this blessed land of Ghana. Those too young can ask – and they will be told about it.
Truly the reality of that bizarre period is etched for ever in the minds of those unfortunate enough to have experienced it. None but the most heartless would ever wish their children and their children’s offspring to ever experience such soul-destroying situations again.
I recall these things because someone – too young to have felt the full force of our “kalabule” era but old enough to have caught a wee sniff of it – has written to me expressing sentiments that alert me to the fact that some of our young people have begun to feel the same sense of frustration and helplessness that afflicted our souls all those years ago. The circumstances are – fortunately – quite different. But sadly, not so the effects.
After reading a piece of mine about a recent incident in which two Chinese nationals were caught vandalising a Cocobod farm with a bulldozer and an excavator, in a galamsey operation, this young man wrote:
QUOTE: “Great article. Really. The irony is that when you drive up and down this country, you come across countless police check-points where they harass the driver of a respectable motor-car to produce his first aid kit and fire extinguisher. And triangle. And spare tyre. But a whole bulldozer being driven driven past them cannot be interrogated!
“I also feel we need to be honest with ourselves about a deep malaise in our culture that allowed us to sell our own people as slaves, and now is making us destroy our own land for pennies. There is a huge amount of work to do on ourselves if we have it within us to self- destruct so spectacularly for minimal gain.
“What is to be done? How on earth do I spend the second half of my life in order to change this?” UNQUOTE
I must admit that the young man’s letter has completely shattered me. How am I to answer him in practical terms? The issue of selling our own brothers and sisters is too complex to be adequately discussed in for this piece but we shall return to it at a later date. But about the issue he raises — police corruption and incompetence — does one tell hm to “join the police and uproot corruption and inefficiency from within!”?
What guarantee does one have that even if he were minded to apply to join the force, he would be welcome in it? And even if they accepted him, of what use would the presence of a single individual be to a police force whose strength stands at the tens of thousands? Besides, he has seen with his own eyes how they operate. He must have the greatest contempt for the way they constantly extort money from hapless motorists. Would he not feel suicidal were he to be exposed to a first-hand view of the corruption of his “comrades” on a daily basis? And yet if reform doesn’t come from within the police force itself, when will the corruption ever stop?
Joining the police force is not an option then? What about reforming the force through political action?
But resorting to political action means joining a political party does it not? Suppose he’s not attracted to any of the political parties vying for power in Ghana today? Do you actually think he can find a party whose ideals would coincide with those of his young mind? Even if the party seduces him by saying on paper that it would do such-and-such when it comes to power, what guarantee is there that it would carry out its promises, instead of doing the convenient thing and bowing to the imperatives of the moment – such as pretending that police corruption — or galamsey for that matter — does not exist?
You know this may be regarded by him as very lame but you might say to the young man: “Listen, it’s only when you are inside a political party that you can use it to achieve the objectives you advocate. You’ve got to go in there, make a very strong case to win as many party members as possible, and then try to implement your ideas – with their support.”
The young man would laugh at that if he knew his Ghana well enough. For he would retort: “Look, people don’t join parties in Ghana to achieve social reforms! They do so mainly to obtain the power to ameliorate their economic and social conditions at public expense.. Few are interested in ideas. Their main driving force is to harvest lucrative jobs – as Minsters, or Deputy Minsters , or heads of corporations and public bodies. They want a driver, a cook, a steward boy, a garden boy and a night-watchman. All paid for with public funds.!
“And they also want to obtain commissions from public contracts. They don’t care that such commissions end up forcing contractors to delay projects or deliver very shoddy work. Go to the houses of the big men and women and see. Aspirants to such selfish advantage are all you will ever meet there. Policy? What is policy to them? So everyone watches what their leader wants and supports that – so that the leader can observe how loyal they are to him – not to the country or the party – and reward them with such lucrative jobs. That’s the be-all and end-all of much of what’s taken for politics in Ghana. How can anyone with any ideals participate in such a charade?”
My God if this is how the young see the observable reality of the day, then what future does our country have?
And yet what alternative is there for them to see?
Let’s go back to the incident that caused the young man to write to me. The two Chinese who drove the bulldozer and the excavator to the Cocobod site were allowed to be bailed by a Ghanaian whose true identity was not disclosed to the media by the police. Will the police officers who granted the Chinese bail be queried by their superiors? We don’t know! Will any top government officials see in the seeming protection by the police of the Ghanaian mastermind of the galamsey venture, the “self-destruct” button which the young man clearly saw and pointed at in his letter to me? We don’t know!
All we can surmise is that the young people of this country are seeing things which their elders are too obtuse to register and that this is destroying the spirit of many of them. The danger is that as their counterparts did nearly 40 years ago, they too may take to the streets and yell slogans, without the experience to realise that mere slogans didn’t solve the social and economic problems of the past and won’t do so now, either.
Greater fools are we (who should know better) if we are so negligent and stupid that we push them to regard that facile – and often tragic – option, as the only one open to them.