Security Operation squad in charge of illegal mining, Operation Vanguard has vehemently denied claims suggesting they raided and sold concessions of a mining company under the watch of Prof. Frimpong Boateng, Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM),
A report by the New Crusading Guide indicated that some Operation Vanguard members working for Prof. Frimpong Boateng looted and sold items seized from a mining firm; Heritage Imperial Company Limited during their last raid at the Kobro Forest in the Ashanti Region.
According to the report, Prof. Frimpong Boateng’s action was supported by Operation Vanguard members, the secretary of IMCIM, Charles Bissue, a presidential staffer and some boys known to be associated with the Minister.
In a quick rebuttal, Operation Vanguard has stated emphatically that they are guiltless and uninvolved in Prof. Frimpong Boateng’s looting and raiding schemes as purported by the New Crusading Guide newspaper.
Speaking exclusively to GhanaWeb, the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Operation Vanguard, Captain Edward Senanu Akakpo said the taskforce works independently with operations completely different from those of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
He detailed that the raid which took place at the mining firm was carried out by the IMCIM taskforce and not Operation Vanguard contrary to earlier reports.
“I want to clarify and let the general public know that operation vanguard and that Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining taskforce are two different entities. Operation Vanguard is different and the inter-ministerial committee taskforce are different. We Operation Vanguard have a distinct uniform we use for our operation; our vehicles are branded with our bands. There was a case in the Kobro forest, the Inter-Ministerial Committee went for an arrest and then they seized some items.....nobody with the Inter-Ministerial Committee works with Operation Vanguard, they are two different entities, we don’t work together”, he stressed.
It was further reported in the story that one security personnel of Operation Vanguard named Tariq who claims to be the W.O from Operation Vanguard in Obuasi allegedly stole a pickup van belonging to the mining firm, Heritage Imperial Company Limited.
The report stated that Tariq threatened the mining firm when contacted to return the vehicle but in follow-up investigations by the New Crusading Guide, Tariq denied being a member of Operation Vanguard insisting he works for Sanny Excavators and has nothing to do with the military.
Captain Senanu Akakpo confirming this to GhanaWeb said they have no one by name Tariq in Operation Vanguard at Obuasi per their checks and that information circulating suggesting that he is part of the force is false and defamatory.
Captain Senanu Akakpo gave details of how people defraud miners using Operation Vanguard as cover up for their illegal acts warning Ghanaians to be on the lookout for them.
According to him, Operation Vanguard comprises both military and the police who all have distinctive uniforms. He further cautioned miners to be careful and circumspect, looking out for imposters who may come wearing either the typical military or police uniforms.
“People will go to these concession people, the miners that they work for Operation Vanguard, using the name of Vanguard to claim money. Already they’ve used Vanguard’s name to take monies from people and it is having a negative impression about Vanguard so I want to use this opportunity to clear the atmosphere and tell the general public that Operation Vanguard does not take money from people. If somebody comes to take money from you then the person is working for himself, vanguard will not take money from you to guard your concession or to release your items to you after arresting you. We have a distinctive uniform and when we operate we go with the police and we're all branded in Operation Vanguard armband. ”, he said.