A former Minister for Environment, Science and Technology under the erstwhile Mahama administration, Akwasi Oppong Fosu, has called for an intensive investigation into the missing excavators case.
An undisclosed number of excavators that were seized by operatives of Operation Vanguard have allegedly gone missing and six persons, including the suspended First Vice-Chair of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Central Region, are currently under police investigations.
Mr. Fosu in an interview said an intensive investigation into the matter will bring some finality to the issue.
“For me, there are issues out there. I talked about what the Minister said about the MMDCEs. Now the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission also mentioned that Galamsey activities are ongoing in forest reserves and that there are powerful officials involved that is, making it difficult for them to deal with this. The recent encounter between some officials and the Ministry of Environment is something that should worry and trouble Ghanaians.”
“What I am requesting for is that this issue should not be swept under the carpet. We need to know the truth and the whole truth. What has gone on in respect to this Galamsey? Has equipment been seized from those we all knew were doing it illegally and subsequently appropriated by officials to now do it in a more massive scale than what this small tide Galamseyers were doing. This is the crux of the matter and we expect his excellency to let us know what has happened because this is one of the major initiatives that gave him public confidence and he cannot afford to betray that trust.”
Missing excavators and arrest
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng disclosed recently that most of the excavators that were seized from illegal miners had vanished.
He subsequently petitioned the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the suspended First Vice Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party, Horace Ekow Ewusi over his alleged involvement in the missing earth-moving equipment.
Ekow Ewusi was contracted by the government to cart excavators and other vehicles and pieces of equipment seized by Operation Vanguard to designated areas for safekeeping.
So far, six persons arrested over the disappearance of the missing equipment have been granted bail.
The six, including Ekow Ewusi, have been cautioned with the offence of stealing and abetment to stealing.
It will be recalled that at the peak of the fight against illegal mining between 2017 and 2018, about 500 earth-moving machines were seized by the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry.
The then sector Minister, John Peter Amewu who sanctioned the seizure directed them to be parked at the premises of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).