Ellembelle DCE, Aide Under Police Investigation
The Western Regional police command has declared District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle, Kwasi Bonzo, his personal assistant and one other are being investigated over report of some missing excavators under his jurisdiction.
According to the Police, no excavators were handed over to them for safe keeping as alleged by the DCE and widely reported by the media.
In a statementdated September 2,signed by Head of Public Affairs Unit and sighted by The Anchor, Superintendent Olivia Ewurabena Tawiah Adiku stressed that, that anybody implicated in the course of the investigation will be brought to book, according to the law.
The declaration by the police, followed reports on Friday that two excavators, which were in their custody, according to the DCE, are nowhere to be found.
But the police strongly insist that, no excavators were handed over to them by the DCE or anyone person from the assembly.
“We wish to categorically state that no excavators were handed over to the police by the District Chief Executive (DCE) ofEllembelle, Mr. Kwasi Bonzo, or any other from the assembly,” the statement noted.
“We, therefore, urge the public to disregard the publication and treat it with the contempt it deserves”;the police said.
“Meanwhile, the DCE, his personal assistant and one other are being investigated in connection with alleged missing excavators”, the statement indicated.
“We wish to assure the public that anybody implicated in the course of the investigation will be taken through the due process of the law,” the statement added.
It would be recalled, the DCE who was first to rush the matter to the media, told journalists that he reported to the Divisional Police Commander, ACP DodziHlordzi, of an ongoing illegal mining operation on the land of the Nkroful Agriculture Senior High School and needed officers to go and clamp down on the perpetrators.
Unfortunately, the Divisional Police Commander told him there were no men for that operation.
“I received a distress call from the Headmaster of NASS about an illegal mining operation vigorously ongoing on a section of their property. Immediately after, another call came from a member of the District Small Scale Mining Committee with the same complaint. So, I called the Divisional Police Commander about it and told him the team has been able to track the machine to TelekuBokazu and needed men to protect them while we look for a vehicle to convey them to a safer location.”
He continued: “To my dismay, the Divisional Police Commander told me there are no men to undertake my request. I was scandalised. Because what I was expecting is that, he will make it a priority and treat it with dispatch considering the priority the President and his government have given to illegal mining.
Well, after several minutes of back and forth, the Divisional Commander agreed to release two men but said that the men can only protect the machines to 6pm.
You should have seen my reaction on the phone. For more than 18 minutes, I tried to convince the Divisional Commander on the need to give maximum protection. But his answer was the same… What can I do, because as a DCE all I can do is to alert and if it becomes difficult, arrest but the final action should be taken by the police. So, the two men came.”
Kwasi Bonzo narrated further that at about 5:30pm, he received a call from the assigned member of the District Small Scale Mining Committee that the two police officers say they are leaving.
“And true to their words, they left the machines. At that time, we had still not been able to secure a vehicle to convey the machines. Earlier, I had even informed the regional minister about our challenge and he was also looking for a vehicle to help because we couldn’t get any in the whole of Ellembelle and Jomoro. It was late in the night and we couldn’t get any watchdog to help. I called the Divisional Police Commander again it was the same response I was getting.
“Strangely, that same night and the night before we saw police officers with vehicles stationed on that same stretch of road that we needed protection for the machines. Maybe on checkpoint duties. So, if it was the priority of the police to help government win this fight against illegal mining, couldn’t they have gone there and change the police men?
Is this not ironic? Where is the commitment of the police? That, at the height of the fight against illegal small scale mining, the police do not see the need to show that commitment, then it is a big worry?”
When asked why the District Mining Committee and National Bureau Investigation team could not immobilise the two machines, he explained that no mechanic was willing to help.
“Previously, when we arrest an excavator, we call these mechanics to come and take the control board. You need a special mechanic to do that. So, we have been working with them. Strangely, this time the team called four separate mechanics and none was willing to help. They were simply not interested. So, you see that this thing is an organised crime.”
Left with no option, the Ellembelle DCE then led members of the District Security Committee (DISEC) to the illegal mining site on Thursday, September 1 to destroy two other brand new machines abandoned there.
“Look at the level of destruction in just two days, only two days. We cannot continue to do this to ourselves. We cannot use false pretence. It will not help anyone. Since no one will help, we will set fire on any machine found at any illegal mining site. In fact, I will personally be buying petrol and setting the machines on fire. We have to win this fight against illegal mining,” the DCE was quoted by Takoradi-based Connect FM’s reporter, Eric Yaw Adjei.