Nana Boakye Darkwa, the beleaguered Benkumhene of Asamang Tamfoe Traditional Area, is requesting a repayment of the Ghc115,000 in mining profits that were granted to Ofori Panin Fie from mining in the neighborhood.
He claims that the sum was paid on October 7, 2022, as goodwill money, and that the Ofori Panin Fie officially accepted and collected it.
The funds came from a community account that was set up to receive donations from miners participating in the community mining plan for social corporate responsibility actions.
The Benkumhene spoke to the media on Wednesday and said, “As part of a corporate social responsibility agreement the community has with the miners, which Xtra Gold is aware of, some mandatory sums were given by the miners and which are stored in an approved account in the name of the community.
On July 10, 2022, Asamang-Tamfoe sent 115,000 Ghana cedis to Ofori Panin Fie as “goodwill money” in recognition of the throne of the Ofori Panin.
As a result, the Benkumhene said that the money should be returned as it was obtained from the program’s revenues if the Judicial Committee, which is headed by Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, deems the community mining program to be unlawful mining.
Due to unlawful mining, Benkumhene of Asamang Tamfoe Nana Boakye Darkwa has been ordered to be overthrown by Okyenhene Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin.
On November 9, 2022, some community members who identified themselves as Concerned Citizens of Asamang Tamfoe petitioned the Akyem Abuakwa judicial council, accusing the chief of engaging in illegal mining under the cover of community mining, endangering the food security and way of life of poor farmers.
The appeal was filed a few weeks after illegal miners in Asamang Tamfoe battled with the Okyeman Environmental Taskforce during a community-wide anti-galamsey operation, resulting in gunfire on the streets.
The Okyeman Environmental taskforce was commanded by Chief of Akyem Apapam, Osabarima Apagya Ofori IV. As a result, the Benkumhene staged a news conference on October 6, 2022, calling their bluff and threatening to engage in violent conflict should they return to the town to continue the same.
The Chief of Asamang-Tamfoe Osabarima Kwame Koh II and the Benkumhene Nana Boakye Darkwa were called by the Akyem Abuakwa Judicial Council in response to the petition, and they appeared before the council on November 21, 2022, for a hearing.
The Akyem Abuakwa judicial council questioned the Benkumhene of Asamang-Tamfoe Nana Boakye Darkwa during the court proceedings as to under whose authority he had organized the press conference on October 6, 2022, given that the Chief of Asamang-Tamfoe Osabarima Kwame Koh II was in Kumasi on that day.
Second, a Daily Graphic article containing a threat against the Okyeman Environmental Taskforce was shown to him.
In order to make amends to the Okyenhene and Akyem Abuakwa traditional council, the Benkumhene accepted fault and bowed down.
The Akyem Abuakwa Judicial Council’s Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin issued the necessary instructions for the Benkumhene’s expulsion.
“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 exploded in rage.
Benkumhene of Asamang-Tamfoe, however, is disputing the purported destoolment, claiming that the trial was improperly conducted in a kangaroo fashion without a chance for defense.
He categorically refuted claims that he was involved in illicit mining, claiming that as the former best cocoa farmer in the region, he had no interest in the industry and had only been appointed chairman of the community mining project 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 continued, “Finally, I declare and state without any ambiguity that, I did not prostrate as a sign of remorse or guilt but rather as a sign of rendering an underserved reverence because, considering the location of the gathering, any form of resistance and insisting that I was not guilty would not have produced any peaceful reactions.
“I am still the de-factor Benkumhene of Asamang Tamfoe and still stand by the contents of the news conference the Okyenhene cited instead of his agenda for the day which he prosecuted,” the Benkumhene, Nana Boakye Darkwa, said in his conclusion.