Leader of the Special Team set up by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining to monitor, investigate, evacuate and arrest persons involved in illegal mining, Nana Yaw Boadu, has stated that the team will expeditiously investigate and make sure that everyone involved in illegal mining is brought to book as it probes the issue of the missing excavators.
According to him, the issue will be treated as very important and no cover-up will be entertained.
“The reason is that now what we plan on doing is that, we are not going to entertain any cover-up again. We are going with a camera to the site. So, when we enter the site, the camera will monitor everything. We want Ghanaians to know whatever is happening at the mining site. So, when you are doing the right thing, Ghanaians will know. When you are not, too, they will know,” he said.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, he said that the battle has not been lost in the fight against galamsey though the government has been fighting this battle for the past three years without any convincing positive result.
“The battle hasn’t been lost. There is still mining going on by illegal people and since we are determined to fight this, we can win it,” he noted.
Last week, the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining and Minister for Environment, Lands and Natural Resources, Professor Frimpong Boateng disclosed that dozens of excavators that were seized from illegal miners have disappeared.
He said, “though the excavators were seized and taken to the district assemblies, the heavy-duty machines disappeared later from the premises of the assemblies”.
Groups demand for officials responsible to be punished
Later, a group calling itself Concerned Small Scale Miners Union of Ghana stated that about the about 500 excavators seized during the crusade against illegal small scale mining between 2017 and 2018, were not missing as alleged but they were on various illegal mining sites in parts of the country.
“We were able to find some of these machines in Tamale. Some of these machines had tracking devices. So we are able to trace them.”
This led to two other groups, the Media Coalition against Illegal Mining and Occupy Ghana demanding from government, explanations for the supposed disappearance of the excavators.
According to them, the authorities responsible for ensuring sanity within the mining sector have failed to enforce the law, thus they should be punished.
“If we don’t ensure that the laws that we have are working, then the impunity will continue. How come some of the excavators cannot be found? It is also important that we know which public officers or individuals are responsible for this. That is something that we need answers for,” Convenor of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, Ken Ashigbey said.
Also, the Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee, Adam Mutawakilu called on the government appointees to resign. According to him, such huge earth-moving machines could not be moved without a trace.
CID arrests six individuals over missing excavators
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service on Monday 3rd February, 2020, arrested six persons in connection with the missing excavators and other seized equipment from illegal miners in the country.
Among them is the suspended New Patriotic Party Central Regional Vice Chairman, Horace Ekow Ewusi.
The others include Frederick Ewusi, Joel Asamoah, Adam Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin.
They have however been granted bail and expected to report to the Criminal Investigations Department later on Wednesday 5th February, 2020.