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Multi-Agency tightens checks on illegal gold business in Migori

Three  Chinese have been arrested at a gold mine in Rongo Sub County for working in the country without work permits.

Police  locked them up at the Rongo Police cells awaiting thorough investigations on how they landed into the country and possible deportation back to their country.

Over  five aliens were found during a raid at a mining plant at Kamagambo area in Rongo and arrested for being in the country illegally. Two of them were found to be possessing legal permits while the three could not produce the needed documents.

Another  three remained holed up miles down the mining shaft and the management of the Aurum Utalum gold processing plant were ordered to hand them to the police immediately they come out of the pit.

The  company  was also ordered to close down in a swoop mounted by a Multi-Agency team to clean the mining sector of illegal aliens and improve revenue collections.

The  team has also tightened its monitoring of the mining industry with a view to bring order in the business that has posed various challenges within the county in regards to environmental protection, illegal mineral harvesting and abuse of employees among others.

The  Multi-Agency body comprising officials from mining, public health, Interior, National land Commission, National Police, National Environment Management Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Immigration and Labour departments ordered the shutdown of two more leaching plants and one mining firm, bringing to 35 and 8 respectively the number of firms so far closed in the region since last week.

Among the mining and leaching firms so far closed includes two owned by Migori Governor, Okoth Obado and one by former County Secretary, Christopher Rusana, that were found to be contravening the mining regulation Act, 2016.

The  County Commissioner (CC), Joseph Rotich  who led the Multi –Agency team told the press that the government could no longer afford to allow the mining firms to operate without the necessary licenses, a situation that denies the State billions of taxes annually besides interference with the environment.

“The move to swoop on the plants in the mining industry has been necessitated by the increased cases of mis-declaration, concealment of plants operations, failure by firms to register their workers, failure to conserve environment and failure to pay the right taxes,” he explained.

He said the state of water pollution currently in the local rivers was threatening, adding that it was prudent that the county multi-agency team enforced the right laws to bar the mineral extracting firms from destroying the environment further using strong chemicals.

Unconfirmed reports said that several animals had died in the recent months in Kuria, Rongo, Awendo and Nyatike regions where heavy mining is happening.

By  Effy Iris/George Agimba

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