The Koforidua Circuit Court ‘B’ Presided over by Her Honour Mercy Adei – Kotei on Tuesday sentenced to jail, thirteen(13) illegal miners to three (3) years each and a fine of GH₵24,000 each.
The convicts are,William Agyapong alias (3,3,4), Prince Awuni alias Flower, Bernard Darkwah also known as Totti, Kwaku Adu, Kwame Kodom, Kofi Nketia alias Nkatie and Isaac Amo also known as Kawku Abei.
The rest are Kwabena Yaw Boye, Samuel Ayisi alias Star Boy, Samuel Ayisi a.k.a Tugah One, Jonas Ametor, Anthony Lolome and James Narh.
The convicts pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit crime and mining without license but William Agyapong alias 3,3,4, Prince Awuni a.k.a Flower and Bernard Dankwah a.k.a Totti pleaded to Court to be merciful because they were forced into illegal mining because of hardship.
However, their plea were not taken by the presiding Judge who explained that the convicts cannot hide behind hardship to defiantly engage in illegality especially when every citizen in Ghana is aware of the State campaign against illegal mining.
The facts of the case Presented by the Prosecutor Assistant State Attorney, Cyril Boateng Keteku are that the complainant in this case is a team of forest Taskforce from the Forestry Division of the Forest Services Commission of Ghana while the accused persons are minors residing at Akwatia in the Denkyembuor district of the Eastern region.
He said officials of the Forestry Commission had information that some illegal miners have been sneaking into the Atiwa forest reserve, which is a global scientific biodiversity area, illegally mining and destroying the vegetation.
The Prosecutor Cyril Boateng Keteku further explained that, on December 8, 2018, the taskforce made incursion into the suspected crime scene and fortunately met the convicts and other escapees busily mining at Obohu and Kobrisu portion within the Atiwa Forest with pickaxes, shovels, head pan, water, pumping machines and other mining equipments.
The Taskforce succeeded in arresting the convicts but the others managed to escape.
The taskforce retrieved small quantities of sand believed to be contained unrefined gold from the scene.
The Prosecutor said the convicts during their caution statement couldn’t produce any license permitting them to mine gold in the forest reserve.
The Begoro district manager of the forestry services, Kwame Oteng Awuah who was present in court commended the judge for the swift judgement.
By: Ghana/Ultimatefmonline.com/106.9FM/Kojo Ansah