The Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee, Adam Mutawakilu has said some government appointees should have resigned over the reported disappearance of some excavators seized from alleged illegal miners.
According to him, such huge earth moving could not be moved without a trace.
The Minister for Environment, Lands and Natural resources, Professor Kwabena Frimpong earlier this week indicated that dozens of excavators that were seized from illegal mining have disappeared from the district assemblies where they were being kept.
The minister is quoted as saying that “though the excavators were seized and taken to the district assemblies, the heavy-duty machines disappeared later from the premises of the assemblies”.
But the Adam Mutawakilu, who is also the Member of Parliament for the Damango constituency said the development confirms his view that the government’s fight against galamsey is only a façade.
“How can an excavator vanish? By now some people should have willingly resigned…I’m so shocked that excavators could just vanish. This goes to confirm what I said in 2019 that the president’s fight against galamsey was just to remove those local people who are using hoes and cutlass and pave way for party bigwigs to take over.”
He added that the minority is independently investigating the matter to expose persons who are behind the disappearance
He added that, “When you take the minerals and mining Act as amended in 2015, it stated clearly how seized items should be dealt with…We in the minority we are doing an undercover operation to know where the excavators are and will come out with the results.”
Seized excavators being used for galamsey
Meanwhile, a group calling itself Concerned Small Scale Miners Union of Ghana had said that about 500 excavators seized during the intense crusade against illegal small scale mining between 2017 and 2018, are not missing as alleged but they are 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.”
Name officials responsible for the disappearance of seized excavators – Groups demand
The Media Coalition against Illegal Mining and Occupy Ghana subsequently demanded from government explanations for the supposed disappearance of some excavators.
According to the two organisations, the authorities responsible for ensuring sanity within the mining sector have failed to enforce the law.
Convenor of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, Ken Ashigbey said persons behind the disappearance should be named to ensure they are sanctioned.
“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,” he said.
Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining was set up to oversee the implementation of the ban on all forms of small scale mining and also see to the vetting of small scale miners.
It was commissioned in March 2017 by President Akufo-Addo to reform artisanal and small-scale mining in the country. It’s chaired by the minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Frimpong Boateng.
The committee is made up of Ministers of the following ministries; Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs, Regional Re-Organisation and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Water and Sanitation, Interior, Defense, and Information.