Betty Mould to Akufo-Addo: Name any law that allows you to burn excavators

A former Attorney General Betty Mould Iddrisu has condemned in no uncertain terms the endorsement of the burning of excavators belonging top illegal miners by President Nana Akufo-Addo, saying it is dangerous to the  country.

Her comments come after President Akufo-Addo endorsed the burning of equipment used by illegal miners for the pollution of water bodies and forest reserves.

Several dozen of excavators and changfans (washing machines) belonging to miners have been set ablaze by government officials in the past weeks, as a way of dealing with the canker, sparking public outrage.

An excavator being burnt by millitary officers at a mining site.

Government Position

President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, suggested that persons who are dissatisfied with his government’s approach in clamping down on illegal miners, particularly the burning of excavators and other equipment to “go to court to vindicate their position”.

Reiterating his commitment to fighting the menace, Akufo-Addo, a former Attorney General under the Kufuor era said, “I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and in some cases harsh.”

President Akufo-Addo

“I strongly disagree, and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about,” Akufo-Addo added.

But Betty Mould Iddrisu who was shocked at the president’s pronouncement described the burning of the equipment as uncalled for.

Speaking on the ‘Gumbe Show‘ on TV XYZ, the former Minister for Education raised serious concerns at the public approval of the President.

“I wouldn’t have believed it, if I didn’t hear it from the President’s own mouth, I am shocked,” she told host Mugabe Maase and asked the President to name one specific constitutional provision that allows his government to burn proceeds of crime when it recovers them.

She cited examples such as recovery of proceeds from even drug dealers after their arrest are not destroyed but the State auctions such recovered assets and the proceeds goes back to the State.

She explained that in her many years of practice as a lawyer and a law lecturer she hasn’t come across any legal regime that allows anyone to destroy proceeds of crime after recovery especially when those recovered proceeds are key evidence used in the trial of the culprits.

Betty Mould Iddrisu also noted that the reckless action of ‘Operation Halt II’, the task force mandated to clamp down on illegal miners, could land the country in serious judgement debts both locally and internationally, in future .

She called on the Government to use a more legal and prudent means to manage the recovered excavators and put them into prudent use to benefit the state rather than destroying them.



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