As the nation awaits the resolution of the riddles surrounding the disappearance of some seized excavators, damning and frightening details continue to ooze out from security sources about the whereabout of the excavators.
A surveillance carried out at Abelemkpe, a suburb in the greater Accra Region by this Newspaper revealed that the excavators have been evacuated to somewhere around Adenta and Botwe.
A further investigation revealed that the seized excavators that had been declared missing by Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng were found parked and abandned on a piece of land owned by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority off Adenta -Botwe road.
However, the pick-ups and trucks confiscated during the stop galamsey operation is nowhere to be found.
Our sources revealed that the pick-ups and trucks were parked at the Methodist Church premises-Abelemkpe. But how the cars vanished from the Church yard remains a mystery.
The Ghanaian government through the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Frimpong Boateng confirmed the disappearance of the over five hundred excavators, but denied the figures attributed to former Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John-Peter Amewu, that a total of five hundred (500) excavators were seized.
He disclosed that hundreds of seized galamsey excavators have gone missing at the supervision of the various assemblies.
“That was not the case. We were told that 500 had been seized and given to the district assemblies. But later, when we out to check, the figure was far less than that” Prof. Boateng explained.
When asked to state the actual figure, the minister said: “I cannot tell you exactly what, but I can tell you it was far lower than the 500 put out”.
According to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, though the excavators were seized and taken to the district assemblies, the heavy-duty machines disappeared later from the premises of the 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” he revealed.
The Hawk Newspaper reliably gathered that the seized excavators were firstly parked and abandoned at Abelemkpe on a plot of land owned by Christian Swaniker but was later evacuated for failure to pay rent and breach of agreement to the Landlord.
Sources confirmed that the land was rented for a period of four years but not a cedi paid to the Landlord who forcedly abrogated the tenancy deed.
It was further learnt that before the seized excavators were dumped on Swaniker’s land, some vital parts of the machines were stolen rendering the machines ineffective.
Ban on galamsey
The activities of miners in some parts of the country have led to the destruction of several water bodies including the Pra, Densu and Offin rivers.
This led to a temporal ban on the activities of small-scale miners in March 2017 as part of efforts to sanitize the sector and cleanse the water bodies which serves millions of households in Ghana.
The two-year ban was, however, lifted on December 17, 2018. The minister for environment, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng during a ceremony to announce the unveiling of the ban said only registered and validated small scale miners would be allowed to mine in their designated concessions.
But this has been called into question again after some people were spotted busily engaging in illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, during an unannounced visit by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kweku Asomah Cheremeh.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng attributed the ongoing activities of illegal miners to “indiscipline” on the part of Ghanaians.
“How can young people from any country descend on their town, go to the bush with metal detectors and detect superficial nuggets and start digging and nobody says anything in that town.
“And the police too will be there without doing anything and they expect the inter-ministerial committee and operation vanguard to move from their FOBs to these areas to do that. We must know we have a precious thing and we need to protect what is precious to us” he charged.