Government’s fight against illegal mining and efforts by the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to prosecute offenders, has yielded result as a total of 25 persons have been jailed for their involvement in the illegal activity that is destroying water bodies and posing health dangers.
The Tarkwa Circuit Court, presided over by Her Honour Hathia Ama Manu, on August 31, 2023, convicted the 25 illegal miners who had been arrested at five different illegal mining sites in 2021 for various illegal mining activities, to a total of 85 years in prison.
The court sentenced the convicts to various terms between 15 and 25 years depending on the gravity of the offence in the five separate cases, and also handed them the maximum fine sanctioned under the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995) – 10,000 penalty units (GH¢120,000).
Richard Kumasi and four other persons were charged with conspiracy to commit the offence of illegal mining as well as the offence of illegal mining.
They were convicted of all the offences and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment in hard labour and ten thousand penalty units (GH¢120,000) for the offence of illegal mining as well as five years on the conspiracy charge.
In another case, Sampson Mefe, Eric Beyetua, Nkubi Francis, Timothy Kumordja, and Larbi Evans, were arrested on September 8, 2021, by the Assembly man of Himan Electoral Area, Alex Baako and eight youth of the community after they were engaged in illegal mining in the River Ankobra with a mining dredge machine.
The five were convicted of the offences of conspiracy to commit illegal mining and illegal mining, and were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in hard labour and fine of GH¢120,000.
Again, Gordon Naah, Bismark Joribon, Abdulai Asongmene and Nicholas Dunuanua, were caught engaging in illegal mining at Ndumfri forest reserve, near Simpa by Kojo Amoo, a Range Manager at the Forestry Division, Tarkwa, on February 2, 2021.
About one and half acres of the forest had been destroyed entirely by illegal miners, including the accused persons.
The five were sentenced to 15 years in hard labour and GH¢120,000 fine for the substantive offence of illegal mining, and five years for the conspiracy charge.
One of the accused persons, who is a juvenile, was remitted to the juvenile court for sentencing.
In another case, George Fynn was arrested at Esuoso, Tarkwa, after mining with two friends who are on the run, under a high-tension cable.
He was found guilty of the offence of illegal mining and was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in hard labour, while the two who have been identified only as Christian and Effah, have been declared wanted by the Tarkwa Circuit Court.
In the fifth case, the accused persons were arrested at the Ankobra River undertaking illegal mining.
The arresting team arrested and handed them over to the Tarkwa Police together with a detector machine, two shovels, and two pickaxes which they used in their illegal mining activities.
The court convicted and sentenced them to 15 years’ imprisonment in hard labour and GH¢120,000 fine, the offence of illegal mining, as well as five years on the conspiracy charge.
All the accused persons are currently serving their sentences in prison facilities across the country.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak