The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame, has declared his readiness to challenge a $15 million judgment debt awarded against the government of Ghana in its fight against illegal mining.
Although the Minister failed to extensively explain what led to this new judgement debt, he clarified that it came about during the work of the now-defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee tasked by President Akufo-Addo, in his first term, to fight illegal mining.
Speaking on Citi TV‘s Point of View program, Mr. Dame explained that although the timeframe for appealing against the judgment debt had elapsed, he still intends to challenge it on “procedural grounds.”
His comments come on the back of criticisms from some sections of the public over the appropriateness of the government’s current strategy in its fight against illegal mining, involving the burning of seized excavators and other mining equipment.
“Apparently, there has been some judgment debt granted against the Government of Ghana in that regard. I got to know through Randy Abbey that it had been awarded last year. The following Monday, I sought to investigate, and I found out that indeed, there had been a judgment debt of over $15 million granted, and that was in June last year, with respect to some activities by the Inter-Ministerial Committee, and at that time there was no burning at all.”
“So really, the judgment debt becomes unavoidable. But even with respect to that judgment debt, even though the time for appeal has elapsed, I really intend to challenge it on procedural grounds.”
Justification for the burning of excavators
The Attorney General, also on the show, sought to justify the government’s new strategy in the fight against illegal mining.
Mr. Dame explained that the government’s foremost principle in the fight is that “a person engaged in an illegality has no right [to do so].”
“So the principle we are operating with is that no right accrues to a person who is engaged in an illegality, and that is a principle recognized by the laws of Ghana.”