The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked the government to account for all excavators and ammunition seized during the Stop Galamsey Campaign.
According to the Communications Director of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, the government had seized 900 excavators during the campaign.
He cited figures in the 2020 budget presented in Parliament to support his claim.
Addressing a press conference on the banks of River Pra at Twifo Praso in the Central region, Mr. Gyamfi challenged the government to make a public presentation on the state of the items.
“The NDC demands that the Akufo Addo government as a matter of urgency should fully account for all items seized as listed in paragraphs 801 of the 2020 budget statement presented to the House of Parliament.”
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press if you check paragraph 801, it says government at the time had seized 900 excavators, not 500. 500 caterpillars are missing but we were told 900 had been seized at paragraph 801 of the budget statement. Also, it is indicated there that a total of 2,079 weapons and ammunition have been seized from illegal miners and 4,045 other mining equipment confiscated from illegal miners have also been seized. We are demanding that the government holds a public exhibition of these seized excavators.”
Missing excavators and arrest
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng. 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).