President of the Concerned Small Scale Miners, Michael Kwadwo Peprah has alleged that several ounces of gold seized from illegal miners by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining between 2018 and 2019 have gone missing.
This comes on the back of the arrest of Horace Ekow Ewusi and five others for their alleged involvement in the disappearance of some confiscated excavators.
Mr. Preprah said the situation warrants further investigations.
“You have seized people’s excavators and those excavators cannot be found. They have seized people’s gold because they thought they were engaging in Galamsey and those gold cannot be found and at the end of the day, we are back to the same problem.”
“If we are able to seize over 500 excavators, then imagine the number of gold that will be seized alongside the excavators because all those excavators were used in mining and at the end of the day when you go and catch the person in the act, they were not catching stones, they were mining so if you should take the gold with the excavator you should know the amount of gold we are talking about. It means this fight against Galamsey, people were using it to enrich themselves. Now that we have brought the military and they have failed, what is next? That is one thing we fear.”
Michael Kwadwo Peprah also said the suggested dissolution of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining as hinted by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) General Secretary, John Boadu is long overdue.
“We said it over again that using the military to fight the problem is not the solution and government did not adhere to what we were trying to say and now that at least we have had evidence from whatever we are saying is a lesson to them and it is a lesson to the subsequent government. The problem is a very complex one and if you do not understand the problem, that is when you make mistakes like what we have done.”
This revelation follows Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng’s recent disclosure 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 equipmen to have been granted bail .
The six, including Ekow Ewusi, have been cautioned with the offence of stealing and abetment to stealing.