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General News of Saturday, 22 May 2021


Galamasey: Government refusing to release our excavators – Small-scale miners

Mr Hussein Abdullah, a national executive member of the association Mr Hussein Abdullah, a national executive member of the association

The Small-Scale Miners Association of Ghana has said the government of Ghana is refusing to release its members’ excavators which were among some 500 pieces of earthmoving equipment seized during President Nana Akufo-Addo’s first term fight against illegal small-scale mining.

Mr Hussein Abdullah, a national executive member of the association, told Accra100.5FM’s morning show ‘Ghana Yensom’ hosted by Kwame Appiah Kubi on Friday, 21 May 2021 that the authorities keep tossing the group’s members about anything they attempt to get their equipment back.

According to him, none of the seized excavators belonging to the association’s members has been released despite providing documentary proof of ownership.

Missing Excavators

Some of the excavators went missing after they got confiscated.

Last year, President Nana Akufo-Addo said no one found culpable in the missing excavators saga, would be shielded by his government irrespective of who they may be.

Delivering his fourth State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday, 29 February 2020, 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 chanfan 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”.

“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”, the President promised.

On 5 February 2020, the leader of the team in charge of monitoring and securing all the seized earthmoving and auxiliary galamsey equipment 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 found their way back into the forest reserves.

At the time, 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 at the time, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, disclosed that some of the 500 excavators 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 for 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 included the suspended Central Regional Vice-Chair of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Horace Ekow Ewusie.

The others were Frederick Ewusi, Joel Asamoah, Adam Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin.

Ekow Ewusi, Frederick Ewusi and Joel Asamoah were cautioned on the offence of stealing while Adnan Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin were 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.

Burning of Excavators

In the President’s renewed anti-galamsey fight led by Operation Halt II, all seized excavators and equipment are burnt, an approach that has attracted a lot of public ire and criticism.