A Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, has charged President Akufo-Addo to deal with the missing excavators beyond a police inquiry.
He believed the inability to retrieve the excavators would create a dent in the efforts to tackle the illegal mining menace.
Dr Asante was of the view that President Akufo-Addo “cannot say he is waiting on police investigations because we [Ghanaians] want more”. He was reacting to the president’s response to some alleged 500 missing excavators which were seized after the prohibition of illegal mining.
Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, had admitted the inability of authorities to locate the earth-moving equipment.
Mr Akufo-Addo, who failed to disclose the exact number of the missing excavators, said at the recent State of the Nation Address (SoNA) that no one would be shielded. He added that the police were looking into the matter.
But Dr Asante, who was a guest on Joy News’ Newsfile on Saturday, insisted the rhetoric would not solve the issue. He suggested “new strategies” to deal with the “root cause” of the menace that had lingered after the government rolled out a supposed plan to regularise small-scale miners. Among the suggestions was adequate incentives to deter people from engaging in the illegal act.
Of major concern to Dr Asante were allegations of government officials, New Patriotic Party (NPP) members and other stakeholders capitalising on the situation for personal benefits.
“What is perverse is that somebody is entrusted with going to arrest a problem that has implications for the health of our children…and they use that same opportunity to enrich themselves, it is perverse”.
He insisted, “we can’t give up the fight”.
So far, some 2000 illegal miners have been arrested, 2779 weapons and ammunition have been seized and more than 4000 mining equipment confiscated.
Also, 900 excavators have also been impounded and 139 illegal Chinese miners deported.
Also, on the panel of the programme was Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil.
Mr Bentil held the view that “the excavator issue is the heart of the scandal. It shows the failure and insincerity” of the government.
He said he was not surprised at the President’s silence on the number of missing excavators “because that would have been very dangerous” if the president quoted specific figures on the missing equipment.
“I doubt if anybody knows how many excavators have been seized. I doubt if anybody knows where they are. I doubt if anybody knows who has taken them. The excavator thing has become the heart of the scandal,” lamented.