The Divisional Commander of Police in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, ACP Hlordzi Dordzi has been interdicted in connection with the alleged missing excavators reportedly seized from illegal miners by the District Chief Executive, Mr Kwesi Bonzo and his team.
The regional Commander, DCOP Victor Adusah Poku would neither confirm nor deny the interdiction of his subordinate when this reporter spoke to him in his office in Sekondi yesterday. According to him, the Police would soon complete investigation into the missing excavators and subsequently inform the public about the outcome.
ACP Hlordzi, however, confirmed his interdiction in a text message to The Chronicle, which had enquired from him through the same medium, whether he had been interdicted or not.
It would be recalled that last week Friday, this paper carried a publication about the alleged disappearance of two excavators in the custody of the Ellembelle Police Command, which was seized by the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle, Mr Kwesi Bonzo. The police, however, issued a statement to deny that the excavators were in their custody.
DCE Bonzo had told journalists that he seized the excavators because they were being used to undertake illegal mining activities, popularly known as galamsey. On the day the publication came out, DCE Bonzo informed this reporter that he had been arrested and made to write his statement.
The Chronicle also gathered independently that a National Investigation Bureau (NIB) officer and a Small Scale Mining Committee member, Mr Francis Apeni were also arrested.
ACP Hlordzi admitted to The Chronicle at the time that indeed an arrest had been made and mentioned the Small Scale Mining Committee member as the one who was arrested. He denied that of DCE Kwesi Bonzo and the NIB officer.
He also told the paper that the district Commander, the two officers who guarded the excavators and himself have all given their statements to the Police.
Meanwhile, the Police administration appears to have been given a clue concerning the identity of those behind the illegal mining at the site, leading to the missing excavators.
This is because a deposit of metal pipe holes that were allegedly going to be used by those behind the mining to wash the gold had been impounded at a building closer to the mining site.
Information available to The Chronicle indicates that the Ellembelle Police Command consequently proceeded to the site with armed men to guard the building after deposits of the pipe holes were discovered in the building.
The decision by the police to send armed men to guard the building follows a formal complaint filed before the Divisional Police command by a member of the Ellembelle Small Scale Mining Committee member, Mr Apeni, who the police say is a suspect in connection with the missing excavators.
Mr Apeni, who spoke to this reporter in a telephone interview said that he made the formal complaint to the Police command on Monday morning and the police acted on it by making two armed police officers guard the place.
The owner of the building is unknown, and a search has been mounted to identify him or her. The police believe that if the owner is found it would enable them uncover those who own the metal pipe holes.