The leader of the special monitoring, evaluation, evacuation and investigation operations of the Operation Vanguard has said the task force has started retrieving some excavators that went missing following their seizure.

Nana Boadi said his team found the excavators on some mining sites following a tour and have since repossessed them.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story, Mr Boadi in response to where the excavators were said “they are with the miners. We can find them anywhere they are mining and we have started retrieving them.”

According to Mr Boadi, their investigations have revealed that “at the time the excavators were supposed to evacuate all the machines to Accra, that was when they got the chance to divert them and some were given back by the police and the assembly.”

President Akufo-Addo’s government has come under stern criticism after it was revealed that about 500 excavators seized from illegal miners had gone missing.

The NPP’s suspended Central Regional vice-chair, Ekow Ewusi, has been charged by the police in connection with the missing excavators

Although the police have arrested six persons in connection with the disappearance, many have been angered by the development with the Minority in Parliament calling for the arrest and prosecution of the Environment Minister, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng.

But Mr Boadi said while he cannot give exact number, the excavators have been found.

“In the Amansie West District, they have retrieved three and one from Hwidiem in the Ahafo area. We are still counting,” he stated.

He, however, denied reports that over 500 excavators have gone missing.

He explained that while 550 excavators had been seized, only 315 were successfully moved from the mining sites.

“Per the record that we have, as of August 2017 to January 31, 2020, the total seized machine from Operation Vanguard and Galamstop is 315. As we speak, when you come to Accra, we have 127 and we have some in Obuasi and Tarkwa.”

Despite the lapses in its operations, Mr Boadu said the government is resolute in its fight against illegal mining and an unimpressed President Akufo-Addo has instructed them to have television cameras on their tours.