29 African illegal miners fined Ghc15,690,000 in default serve 139 prison sentence 29 African illegal miners fined Ghc15,690,000 in default serve 139 prison sentence
The Koforidua Circuit Court ‘B’  Presided over by Her Honour Mercy Adei Kotei has convicted 29 illegal miners mostly foreigners arrested in the Atewa... 29 African illegal miners fined Ghc15,690,000 in default serve 139 prison sentence

The Koforidua Circuit Court ‘B’  Presided over by Her Honour Mercy Adei Kotei has convicted 29 illegal miners mostly foreigners arrested in the Atewa Forest Reserve to a total fine of Ghc15,690 ,000 in default serve  139 years.

Three of the convicts who are Ghanaians were convicted  to a 2500 penalty units which translates to a fine of ghc30,000  each in default serve three years  prison sentences while the other 26 convicts were fined  50000 penalty units equivalent to ghc600, 000 each in default serves five years prison sentence each.
All the convicts were found  guilty of all the charges of conspiracy to commit crime,illegal mining and mining without license .
  25 of the convicts are Nigeriens while 1 is from Guinea Conakry. 
The court said, the accused persons claims of hunting for grass cutter and flying birds during the trial could not be backed by evidence .
According to the court ,no implement or weapon was found on the accused to justify  the hunting claims instead mining equipments were retrieved.
The judge stated that ,the convicts  gave conflicting evidence indicating they were  deceiving  the court with the hunting claims.

Throughout the trial,the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to three counts.

The facts of the case as presented to the court commencing trial of the accused persons by the Deputy Eastern Regional State Attorney, Cyril Boateng Keteku,the prosecuting officer was  that the complainant in the case is a team of forestry taskforce made up of police, military and personnel of the Forestry Services Division led by The Manager of Anyinam range of the Atewa Forest Palmer Aikins Amponsah  .

He said on January 26, 2017, the complainants, on their routine patrols in the forest, chanced upon the accused persons at about 5:00a.m. using sophisticated mining equipment to excavate the soil to prospect for gold and other minerals in the forest reserve without license.

The prosecutor further explained that the team succeeded in arresting 29 of them, namely Mohammed Omar, Mohammed Haruna, Amadu Basar, Dauda Zinjima, Amar Mohamed, Kassin Bramah, Mahamudu Arubakari and Sitah Zibo.

The others are Hamidu Amadu, Musah Iddrisu, Munkaila Bomboro , Omaru Sulemana ,Addul M. Hudu, Zibo Alibu,Haruna Mumuni, Abdulai K. Kibo, Bukari Musah, Musah Ahmed and Sulley Aadum.

The rest are Munkaila Salifu, Yakuba Adamu, Yao Denay, Fuseini Amadu, Gubar Jatah, Barim Sribil, Hamza Gudiah, Nameh Keita and Jibril Amidu.

Sophisticated mining equipments  were retrieved, adding that a search in the forest revealed that the activities of the illegal miners had destroyed greater portions of the forest reserve and also created death trap holes in the forest.

He said the suspects were escorted to the regional police headquarters in Koforidua, where they were interrogated and their caution statements taken.

The prosecutor added that the accused persons could not produce any licence authorising their mining activities, hence they were charged with the offence .

Information gathered indicates that, prosecution is not satisfied with the prison sentence hence there is possibility of appealing the judgement for a more stiffer punishment.

Source :enaghana.com