Leader of defiant illegal mining group in Atewa forest jailed ,slapped with hefty fine Leader of defiant illegal mining group in Atewa forest jailed ,slapped with hefty fine
A 47 year old illegal miner, has been convicted to three and half years  prison sentence with hard labour and additionally, fined Ghc26,400 .... Leader of defiant illegal mining group in Atewa forest jailed ,slapped with hefty fine

A 47 year old illegal miner, has been convicted to three and half years  prison sentence with hard labour and additionally, fined Ghc26,400 .

The convict, Sampson Benchi a farmer, is leader of a mining group five of  whom have been arrested including  the convict, put before Koforidua Circle Court ‘B’ Presided over by Her Honour Mercy Adei-Kotei  for illegally mining  in Atewa Forest Reserve.

The rest of the accused persons are Ofosu Richard ,27, Aikens Kawodie,23, James Ampong alias Great Ampong  ,24,and Felix Ampomah, 25, years. 

They have been charged for conspiracy to commit crime and mining without license .   

Sampson Benchi, was convicted  on his own plea of guilty but the rest pleaded guilty with explanation hence case adjourned.

Narrating  facts of the case to Court ,the Prosecutor, Nana Gyankomah Sakyi ,a State Attorney  said,

Complainant is  Forestry Taskforce from the  Forestry Services Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana while the accused persons are illegal miners residing in Akyem -Apenamang .

According  to the Prosecutor, on January  17,2018 , based on tip off  the taskforce  went to the crime scene and met a number  of illegal miners inside the  Atewa Forest Reserve which is a global biodiversity  center ,seriously engaging  in  illegal mining depleting the vegetation of the forest. Upon seeing the taskforce ,they fled but the taskforce managed to arrest the five accused persons but they claimed during their caution statement that   they  went to take their mining equipments hidden in the Forest since the Christmas  festivities to the owner having gotten information that Forestry Taskforce will  be in the area. 

The taskforce retrieved pickaxes, head-pans, water pumping machines, shovels among many other mining tools. 

In a related development, a Senior State Attorney, David Hodanu, also put before court four other illegal miners arrested out of a group of 30 illegal miners  spotted mining in the Obuoho and Fante portion of the Atewa Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region by Forestry Taskforce after treking about five hours deep Forest .

The four accused persons, Issah Ali alias Mallam Issah ,Mark Kofi  Danku, a. k. a known as Okumbuor, Kwasi Darko, and Kwaku Damptey  have been charged for conspiracy  to commit crimes and mining without license. 

Since a ban was placed on illegal mining, the miners have made the Atewa Forest Reserve a target to thwart arrest. The situation is leading to depletion of the vegetation despite efforts  by the inadequate forest guards.