All seized mining excavators that have gone missing will soon be found, according to Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
According to him, the country’s security agencies are following up on the issue closely and will soon bring it to its logical conclusion.
The sector minister who has come under serious attack from a section of the public over his inability to account for all the equipment seized from illegal miners said he is confident that all equipment will be found.
He told journalists on Thursday that “every excavator that has been stolen will be found…I don't want to overstep what the security people are doing so let us be patient. You will get the facts pretty soon.”
It was revealed that the excavators seized by Operation Vanguard from illegal miners and some small scale mining companies which flouted the ban on small scale mining had gone missing.
There are allegations that some top members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) are involved in illegal mining and they have appropriated some of the excavators amongst themselves despite the public campaign against the practice.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had said that the government’s ban on small scale mining was only a “smokescreen” to kick out other miners and allow persons aligned to the NPP space to mine clandestinely whilst the ban was still in force.
Joojo Frimpong-Boateng, son of the Minister is amongst those accused of being involved in illegal mining and using a missing excavator for the act in some of the country’s forest reserves.
But the Minister said the allegation against his son is false.
“He [Jojo Frimpong-Boateng] is not involved in anything and the world will get to know soon,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the suspended First Vice-Chairman of the NPP in the Central Region, Horace Ekow Ewusi who has become the centre of the controversial issue of the missing equipment has been captured in a viral video allegedly claiming that he together with the NPP General Secretary, Boadu were tasked by the sector minister to use the seized excavators to mine in various concessions.
The money raised from these activities, Mr. Ewusi alleged would help fund the political activities of the NPP.
John Boadu subsequently denied the allegation.
Investigate Ekow Ewusi
Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng had petitioned the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service to investigate 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.