The Lands and Natural Resources Ministry is working to reconcile the number of excavators seized at the peak of the fight against illegal mining.
At its last count, the sector minister, Kweku Asomah Cheremeh, said his outfit currently has 157 excavators in its possession.
There are 122 excavators in Adentan, 26 in Obuasi and nine in Tarkwa.
Speaking at the Information Ministry’s meet the press series on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, he said Operation Vanguard gave 290 excavators whilst Galamstop accounted for 81.
Mr. Cheremeh however assured that “the Ministry is currently working on reconciling these figures which were hitherto given by Operation Vanguard and Galamastop.”
“But for now, this is what we have counted at the sites mentioned,” he added.
Concerns about the excavators have been raised in the past because of the alleged theft of some of them.
In January 2020, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, disclosed that most of the excavators that were seized from illegal miners had vanished.
Six persons were arrested in connection with the missing excavators.
The six included a suspended First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party in the Central Region, Ekow Ewusi.
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.
Seven were later retrieved during an operation by the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
This notwithstanding, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee, Adam Mutawakilu complained of the government’s failure to institute a full-scale investigation into the missing excavators.
“As a Ranking Member, I have made follow-ups to ensure that the proper thing is done, but they are not doing it,” he said in on October 7.