SOME OFFICERS of Operation Vanguard – a Military Police Joint Task Force (JTF) set up by government in 2017 to combat the operations of illegal mining in the country – have arrested three of their own officers for their alleged involvement in a bribery and extortion racket.
Among those arrested is a serving military officer at Tamale Air Force Base, Sergeant Mathew Ansu, who was a member of Vanguard Four Operation.
The rest are Lance Corporal Samuel Arhinful and Sergeant Collins Baffour Gyawu – both serving police officers based at Achiase District Police Command and Cape Coast Regional CID respectively.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Operation Vanguard, Captain Edward Senanu Akakpo, who confirmed the arrest, said L/Corporal Samuel Arhinful popularly known as Commander Sammy was the leader of the extortion gang until their arrest.
They were arrested at Gold Finger Spot in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region on Wednesday evening where officers of Operation Vanguard had laid ambush following a tip-off.
According to the PRO, Arhinful, who also worked with Vanguard Four Operation, recruited his friend and colleague, Sgt. Collins Baffour Gyawu (a member of Vanguard Eight) to join him and Sgt. Mathew Ansu for the alleged extortion racket.
The suspects had demanded monies or received payments from some miners on a weekly or monthly basis, which protected their victims from being arrested for illegal mining activities.
They had virtually created an enterprise to demand deposits or take ‘profits’ (bribes) in the name of Operation Vanguard without the knowledge of the current Commander, Colonel Jackson Wonje, and his men.
All the suspects have since been sent to the military and police headquarters in Accra for further investigations and action by their respective institutions, Captain Senanu Akakpo stated.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi