Seven of the hundreds of seized excavators that went missing have been retrieved during an operation by the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining.
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.
Three persons were arrested during the operation and have since been granted bail.
Leader of the team Nana Yaw Boadu in an interview with Citi News expressed the resolve of his outfit to retrieve all missing excavators.
“The team responsible for retrieving the excavators that have gone back to the miners and again stopping the operations of the galamsey people went to Apraman and other areas and we were able to impound 20 excavators but unfortunately out of the 20, we were able to track only ten to Apraman police station.”
“And out of the ten that were tracked to the Police station, seven were part of the seized ones that were returned to the miners. When we went there, the miners were able to disengage the excavators. You go there, you will notice that the monitor and other parts [of the excavator] have been removed to the extent that some removed the starter from the machine.” Missing excavators and arrest
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng had 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).