The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh says the excavators that were seized during the fight against illegal mining have not been sold as being speculated.
Speaking to journalists during a tour of some illegal mining sites in the Prestea Municipality of the Western Region, the Minister said mining laws on confiscated items bar the sale of such equipment.
“No excavator, to the best of my knowledge has been sold. I’m talking from point of law that no excavator has been sold of which I am aware of. In law, Section 99 of Act 703, 2006 mandates the Lands Minister to take custody of all such seized equipment at illegal mining sites. And before this equipment will go out, we’ll have to go all out to publish their details… That is why I say that to the best of my knowledge, no excavator has been sold. Also, according to law, the equipment seized are not to be sold,” he said.
Mr. Cheremeh also announced that his outfit is taking an inventory of all items including excavators seized.
“As I speak to you now, I’m yet to take full inventory together with the inter-ministerial committee to ascertain the figures involved. The law was amended just last year to give the Lands Minister that opportunity to take charge of all such equipment. So I have spoken to my colleague, Frimpong Boateng to go all out with my Ministry so that we take inventory of such equipment and then a formal handing over is made to the Ministry.”
Currently, the suspended Central Regional Vice-Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Horace Ekow Ewusi and six others are being investigated over the disappearance of about 500 excavators seized during the fight against illegal mining.
Small scale mining groups have also pushed for investigations into missing gold and ammunition seized during the same period.
Meanwhile, seven of the seized excavators that went missing have been retrieved during an operation by the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
The seven are part of some twenty excavators that were impounded in Apraman and Topraman in the Eastern Region.
The exercise which was undertaken by a special committee under the IMCIM tasked to retrieve all missing excavators could only move ten of the excavators to the Apraman Police station due to the immobility of the other ten.