The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle, Mr Kwasi Bonzo, has said, his deep concerns about the two missing excavators from the Teleku Bokazo, illegal mine site, is meant to ensure the security of the heavy duty machines.
He noted that much as he attempted to ensure justice, his approach has “ruffled’ the‘corridors of power’, admitting “I have stepped on toes.”
Mr Bonzo was speaking to journalists last Thursday, after he was arrested by the police for allegedly obstructing them in carrying out their duties in connection with two missing excavators.
The police had retrieved one of the missing excavators, enroute to the Western Regional Police Command, Sekondi, on Wednesday.
The DCE said that the police claimed there were no excavators in their custody, and that, he and Francis Apeni, a member of the District Small Scale Mining Committee, were responsible for the safety of the machines.
Mr Bonzo recalled that at about 2pm on August 31, he informed the police “to watch over the two excavators, but, later, the machines got missing”, stating that, the police in their statement, last Saturday, denied that saying it’s in our custody.”
He said that, since he was a subject of investigations as Chairman of the District Security Committee (DISEC), and Chairman of, Small Scale Mining Committee, “I should be concerned about any excavator leaving my jurisdiction.”
The DCE said he never obstructed police processes, adding “We didn’t have evidence on the missing excavators, and, this time, we have evidence and so I needed to take pictures of an excavator leaving my district. I did not obstruct the police in anyway.”
Mr Bonzo applauded the Inspector General of Police, the Regional Police Commander and the operational team, for retrieving one of the missing excavators and also for the arrest of some Chinese suspects in connection with the case.
He urged them to retrieve the other excavator to ensure justice and fairness in the matter which had generated much public interest.
Mr Bonzo said: “I will fight with my last blood. I have to ensure that the excavators and issue of illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, in the district is stopped.”
He expressed worry that galamsey was destroying land, water bodies, adding “Yes, I know I have stepped on toes but, I believe the police would go ahead and bring the perpetrators of this crime to book.”
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, SEKONDI