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22-Year-Old Galamsey Kingpin Ventures Into Hospitality Industry with 86-Room Hotel in Axim

Kwame Ato Asare Ani, an illegal small-scale mining leader in Axim, has claimed in an interview with a local radio station that he is not an armed robber as indicated in police reports. Instead, he alleges that he is a police informant who is aiding in the fight against illegal small-scale mining (known as galamsey) in the Axim community.

Kwame Ani argues that his achievements and contributions to the community refute all allegations of armed robbery made against him. He states that he has constructed a road worth over 1.2 billion old cedis and has provided potable water to the community, among other things.

On April 03, 2023, during an interview on Peace FM’s Afternoon News, the 22-year-old galamsey kingpin revealed that he is constructing an 86-room hotel in the area as part of his efforts to enhance the region.

Find extracts of his conversation below: 

News Anchor: You said you’re building a hotel. 

Kwame: Yes 

News Anchor: How many rooms? 

Kwame: 86 rooms. I’m not a bad person, if I was a bad person, I won’t spend over 1.2 billion to fill an entire road for the community members to use and also drill a borehole for them. 

“Where I’m building my hotel, the place is like a new site, so I constructed and filled the road for about 1.2 billion old cedis, which I’m not even done paying. 

“I drilled the water for them, which the community members are still using, but because of the police case, the pipe that I have laid, they came to destroy it all. 

Asked of his age, he responded: “I’m now going to 22 years, I couldn’t go to school, but I have been helping the police at the galamsey site for about one year but before that, I used to do some of the galamsey, and even buy machines for them to use for the job.”

Kwame Ani claimed that because of his relationship with the police in halting galamsey in the area, he is the first person the police turns to any time they need entry to the various forests where galamsey operations are taking place.

He added, “What I want to tell the IGP is that if I will turn myself in to the police, all the allegations that the police have made against me that I’m an armed robber and having all the guns that they seized; if they are able to tell me the truth, I will come to Accra and turn myself in.

On April 2, 2023, an online news outlet, Printingonline, reported on a viral video featuring a man claiming to be a gang leader confronting a police officer and accusing the officer of trying to arrest him after he had paid him money.

On the same day, the Ghana Police Service released a statement stating that on March 28, the Axim Divisional Police Patrol Team had reported being attacked by a gang, and four men had been subsequently arrested. The police also conducted a search of Kwame Asare’s residence, where they found weapons and other items.

The police statement also acknowledged the video showing a confrontation between some police officers and the arrested gang members, wherein the police were accused of extortion. The police have referred the allegation of extortion to the Police Professional Standards Bureau (PPSB) for investigation

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