DCE accuses police over 2 missing excavators …but police refute claim

The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle in the Western Region, Kwasi Bonzo, has accused the Esiama Divisional Police Command over two missing excavators from the site of illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey”, near the Nkroful Senior High School (SHS).

Mr Bonzo, who is also chairman of the District Security Council (DISEC), called for concerted efforts in dealing with ‘galamsey’, adding that “without the commitment of the police, the galamsey fight will fail.”

Briefing journalists on Thursday at Teleku Bokazo, Mr Bonzo expressed worry that brand new excavators retrieved from a ‘galamsey site’ in custody of the police have ‘vanish’.

The DCE also said he led DISEC members to burn some equipment at a galamsey site, near the Nkroful SHS last Thursday, following a distress call from the headmaster of the SHS that ‘galamseyers’ had  invaded a section of the school’s land.

Mr Bonzo said a member of the District Small Scale Mining Committee also reported that two brand new excavators were operating at the illegal mining site.

He said “The committee later seized the excavators at Teleku Bokazo. I called the Essiama Divisional Police Commander, ACP Dodzi Hlordzi to inform him I needed personnel to protect the excavators, which had been seized.”

 Mr Bonzo said while the assembly looked for a payloader to convey the excavators to the assembly’s premises, the Divisional Police Commander told me that the police did not have enough men to guard the excavators”.

The DCE, said later, the Police Commander released two policemen, saying that “the personnel can protect the machines up to 6 pm on that day.”

Mr Bonzo lamented “We could also not get mechanics to immobilise the equipment and when we went there on Wednesday morning, the two excavators were nowhere to be found. If we had kept the excavators, we would be able to identify the owners for the law to deal with them.”

Meanwhile, the Western Regional Police Command in its rebuttal, said the police did not take custody of any excavators as alleged by the DCE.

A statement signed by the Head of Police  Public Affairs Unit  in Western Region, Superintendent Olivia Ewurabena Adiku, on Saturday, said “We wish to categorically state that no excavators  were handed to the police by the DCE, Mr Kwasi Bonzo, or any other person from the assembly.”

“We, therefore, urge the public to disregard the publication and treat it with the contempt it deserves.”

The DCE, his personal assistant and one other, are being investigated in connection with the alleged missing excavators,” according to the statement.

The police assured the public that anybody found culpable in connection with the missing excavators will be prosecuted.

From Clement Adzei Boye, Teleku Bokazo

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