I Won’t Shield Anyone Involved In Missing Excavators – Akufo-Addo Vows
President Akufo-Addo has vowed not to shield anyone found culpable in the hundreds of missing excavators and the galamsey saga irrespective of the persons political and social status.
Delivering his fourth State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday, February 20, President Akufo-Addo said: “The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) along with Operation Vanguard, are determined to disrupt galamsey activities by confiscating equipment that were employed in these activities. In this regard, 12,000 chan fan machines that go on the river and scoop up the river bed, were seized and destroyed on site; some excavators were also seized and a number of them have gone missing”.
He continued, “The police have arrested and charged some of the culprits and investigations are ongoing and no one involved will be shielded no matter what their positions or political colours are.”
On 5 February 2020, the leader of the team in charge of monitoring and securing all seized earthmoving and auxiliary equipment used for illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) revealed that 315 excavators had been seized as of 31 January 2020 but only 127 were left in the central pool in Accra.
According to Nana Yaw Boadu, some of the excavators have found their way back into the forest reserves.
He said about 32 were back in the forests of Obuasi, Ashanti Region; while about 15 were back in Tarkwa, Western Region.
Weeks earlier, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, disclosed that some of the 500 excavators allegedly seized by the IMCIM Had gone missing.
In an interview with Accra-based Joy FM, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said: “We were told that 500 [excavators] had been seized and given to the district assemblies but later on, when we went out to check, the figure was far less than that”.
Asked the exact figures, Prof Frimpong-Boateng answered: “I cannot tell you exactly what but I can tell you it was far lower than the 500 put out”.
He, however, noted that the earthmoving equipment that went missing, were in the custody of the district assemblies. “That was the case in most of the areas, so, we sent people out there to talk to the district assemblies and we got Vanguard involved and most of them had disappeared”, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said.
On Tuesday, 4 February 2020, the CID issued a statement announcing the arrest of six suspects in connection with the missing excavators.
They include the suspended Central Regional Vice-Chair of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Horace Ekow Ewusie.
The others are Frederick Ewusi, Joel Asamoah, Adam Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin.
Ekow Ewusi, Frederick Ewusi and Joel Asamoah have been cautioned on the offence of stealing while Adnan Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin have been cautioned on the offence of abetment of stealing.
The CID statement said the suspects were arrested on Monday, 3 February 2020 at Abelemkpe in Accra.