More than 50 police and Correctional officers sent to provide security at the abandoned Gold Ridge mine site are reportedly under investigation for collaborating with locals to steal mine properties.
An officer familiar with deployment to the site told the Sunday Star the concerned officers were now subjected to investigation.
The relevant police department was reluctant to confirm the case saying “such an issue is internal affairs of the police”.
However, the well-placed source said most illegal activities, including sale of gold, properties, and removal of hazardous chemicals within the mine site were done by officers providing security with their local counterparts.
“These are properties that cannot be removed unless someone from the inside did so or made arrangements with locals to do so,” our source said.
He said most of those officers involved were reported by locals who collaborated with them in these illegal dealings on agreed terms of a fifty-fifty share.
However, after selling whatever it is, the locals received very little, creating frustration amongst them and prompting them to report the officers involved.
Two weeks ago, a new shift of police and correctional officers was sent to man the site and were given an order to immediately stop the illegal activities.
“The illegal activities have since been reduced, but are not completely stopped,” the source said.
“Gold buyers travelled to the site to buy, making it easier for these illegal trading activities to continue.”
The officer added that vandalism by locals was also escalating, and involved the removal and burning of cable lines for brass.
Brass is a metal alloy made up mainly of copper and zinc.
“These are taken and sold at the open market,” the source said.
“The loss through vandalism there is estimated in the millions. This is done by angry landowners, especially those living within the Bubulake area,” he said.
St Barbara, who owned the mine, confirmed in its September quarterly report that the security situation on the mine site has not improved despite the presence of police.
BY BRADFORD THEONOMI