The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) John Boadu has denied claims levelled against him, alleging his involvement in the disappearance of excavators and other seized equipment by the anti-illegal mining task force.
The suspended Vice-Chair of the NPP in the Central Region, Horace Ekow Ewusie who has become the centre of the controversial issue of the missing equipment has been captured in a video which has been shared widely on social media allegedly making disclosures that he together with Mr. Boadu were tasked by the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng to use the seized excavators to mine in various concessions.
The money raised from these activities, Mr. Ewusie alleged would help fund the political activities of the NPP.
But responding to the claims on Asempa FM’s news analysis show, ‘Ekosii sen’ on Thursday, Mr. Boadu distanced himself from claim, insisting that although he met the two officials regarding a community mining project, he has never received money from anyone or engaged in any illegal deal.
“The Environment Minister invited me for a meeting. It was at that meeting that I went to meet Ekow Ewusi. I even suggested to him we can use some of the young boys in the area we have trained for community mining. There, Ekow Ewusi mentioned that Chairman Wontumi has a large scale mining concession so we should engage him so he gives us portions of his land for the community mining. That was what he (Ewusi) said. So I said if the inter-ministerial committee trained people to properly do small scale mining after the ban, it will only be right to offer them job afterwards through community mining. I did not even have any discussion with him again after that engagement. So nothing in the video shows that I received something for anyone. He can’t say that. Never did I receive a penny from anyone.”
Minister must be arrested
Already, the Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, Adam Mutawakilu has called for the arrest of Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng for his alleged role in the disappearance of the excavators.
“He [Frimpong Boateng] should be the one who should be arrested for first of all breaching the law and paving the way for others,” the MP told the media.
“He didn’t follow the law and as a result, the constituency chairman [and] regional chairman, now have the opportunity to take part in the vanishing and sale of these excavators,” Mr. Mutawakilu added.
The MP also noted that the committee plans to push for the Ministers of Environment, Science and Technology and Lands and Natural Resources to appear before it to answer for the hundreds of missing excavators seized from illegal miners.
“We will first of all push for the Minister; both Frimpong-Boateng and the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to appear before it,” he said.
Mr. Mutawakilu added that the committee is still seeking clarity in various aspects of the case.
“We would like to have clear evidence of why they breached the law and why he [the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology] has not resigned and also the President’s responsibility; why he has not fired him,” he explained.
Missing excavator drama sign of confusion
Lead campaigner of the Media Coalition against illegal mining, Ken Ashigbey has raised concerns over the circumstances that led to the controversial disappearance of the excavators.
He believes that the inability of the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, to even provide the exact number of the missing excavators is a clear indication of his [the Minister] total loss of control of his core mandate.
“My pain is hearing the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial committee say that the excavators are missing. He said it in a way suggesting that nothing else was being done. It had to take a statement that was issued before we realized that all these actions were being taken. The very roadmap on illegal mining had mentioned that excavators were going to be registered, carted and tagged so for me, the inter-ministerial committee should take the issue of the missing excavators very seriously. The Minister did not even tell us what the number of the missing excavators was so definitely for me, I realized at that point that, we were missing the plot.”
Missing excavators and arrest
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng disclosed recently 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 equipment have been granted bail.
The six, including Ekow Ewusi, have been cautioned with the offense of stealing and abetment to stealing.