File photo: Destruction of excavator by soldiers
A Kumasi High Court has slapped government with a $15.3 million judgment debt for the unlawful seizure of excavators.
It has also ordered that government pays the mining company, Heritage Imperial Limited an amount of ¢600,000.
This amount was awarded to the mining firm prospecting for gold in the Apamprama Forest Reserve in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region.
On December 6, 2018, the company’s concession was raided by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Illegal Mining under the suspicion of engaging in activities outside their mandate.
According to the taskforce, the company had been mining illegally though the license granted them only allowed for prospecting.
In court, lawyers for the mining firm argued that they procured a prospecting mining licence from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on October 25, 2018.
The plaintiffs said they stuck to this commitment until the raid was conducted on their concession by the taskforce where their excavators and other equipment were confiscated in December that same year.
In its ruling on May 18, 2021, the court deemed the action on the site against Heritage Imperial Mining Company as unlawful, adding that no evidence had been advanced by the taskforce to back their claims of illegality on the company’s part.
The court, presided by Justice Samuel Obeng Diawuo, also held that the move by the taskforce on the said day was against the mandate within which they were to operate in the fight against illegal mining in the country.
It further concluded that the company also permitted other entities to invade the concession and mine from the plaintiff’s concession.