The Ellembele Divisional Police Commander, ACP Dodzi Hlordzi, has been interdicted by the Ghana Police Service to allow investigation into the circumstances that led to the disappearance of excavators in the district.
This comes after the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembele in the Western Region, Kwasi Bonzoh, was allegedly assaulted, handcuffed and pushed into a waiting white pick-up vehicle by a team of police officers, who accused him of obstructing operation.
The officers were reportedly escorting the excavator, one of the missing Ellembelle excavators retrieved from a forest within the district, to Takoradi when the incident happened.
The police and the DCE have been involved in an untangling snafu after two excavators seized on Tuesday, August 30, by a combined team of members of the Ellembelle District Mining Committee and District Security Council went missing.
The excavators were seized close to the Nkroful Agriculture Senior High School from their owners, for allegedly engaging in illegal mining.
After accusations and counter-accusations, Kwasi Bonzoh was arrested by the police and later granted bail.
While the case was under investigation, the DCE got hint of an excavator being transported from the district to Takoradi with police providing escort, while he was on his way to Sekondi for a radio programme.
The DCE and his team reportedly tracked the machine to a spot close to the Ankobra Beach Resort, but could not stop it.
He managed to stop the truck transporting the excavator when it slowed down on bumping strips a few meters to the Axim junction.
The DCE reportedly identified the excavator as one of the missing excavators, and while enquiring from the driver where he was taking the excavator to, some plain-clothed officers in a white pick-up and Nissan patrol car came out and confronted him and a scuffle ensued, DAILY GUIDE gathered.
The DCE was arrested by the officers, who sent him to the Western Regional Police Command.
“The DCE heard that one of the excavators had been retrieved and wanted to verify. When he got there, some misunderstanding ensued and the DCE was arrested,” a source told the paper.
The police command yesterday confirmed the arrest of Mr. Bonzoh, asserting that while the team of police officers was escorting the excavator to Takoradi, the DCE organised and led some thugs to attack the police by obstructing police operation.
The police, in a statement, indicated that the DCE and three others were therefore arrested accordingly.
The statement said the police, through days of intelligence operations, on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, retrieved one of the excavators that was reported missing from Ellembelle.
“A team of operations and intelligence officers working day and night discovered the missing excavator several kilometres into a forest within the Ellembelle District.
“Investigation continues to recover the other excavator and arrest all those behind it to face justice,” the statement noted.
The DCE had earlier expressed his frustration about the seeming lack of commitment on the part of the police in the area, in the fight against illegal mining.
He indicated that he had received a distress call from the headmaster of the Nkroful Agriculture Senior High School about illegal mining activities, popularly known as galamsey, taking place on a section of the school land.
According to him, he instructed a member of the assembly’s small scale mining committee and some DISEC members to seize the excavators, while away in Accra.
“I quickly called the area’s Divisional Police Commander to inform him about it.
“I told ACP Dodzi Hlordzi that I needed men to protect the excavators while the assembly looked for a payloader to convey the machines to Sekondi,” he narrated.
“To my surprise, the Divisional Police Commander told me that the police did not have enough men in the area to guard the excavators,” he said.