A Takoradi Circuit Court has sentenced three illegal miners also called ‘galamsey operators’ to a total of 45 years imprisonment
The three convicts were also fined a total of GHc720, 000.00 or in default serve additional two weeks in jail.
The three, Joseph Donkor, 40 years; Joseph Paul, 27 and Charles Ewusi also 27 years, were arrested at Cape Three Points in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region in February this year.
They all pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, undertaking small scale mining operation without license and the court, presided over by Mrs Abigail Animah Asare sentenced them on their own plea.
Prosecuting, Sgt Robert Amonoo Yawson, said the complainant in the case is a Forester with the Forest Service Division, Takoradi District in charge of supervision at Cape Three Points forest reserve but lives at Boyekrom in the area.
He said the first accused person is a farmer while the other two are all unemployed and all live at Alabankata near Cape Three Points.
He said on February 16, 2021, the complainant joined the National Rapid Response team, made up of Forest guards and patrolled the Cape Three Points Forest Reserve.
The Prosecutor told the court that same day at about 2pm, the team met the accused persons and many others who were actively engaged in digging and washing of sand as part of illegal mining.
Sgt Yawson said the team succeeded in arresting the accused persons. He said the scene of crime and the accused persons were photographed for evidential purposes.
The accused persons were subsequently handed over to the Regional office of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service in Sekondi for investigations.
He noted that later, the accused persons admitted the offence in their various caution statements as specified in the charge sheet.
He said investigations revealed that the accused persons were mining without license and after investigations, the three were charged and arraigned before the court.
In her ruling, the Circuit Court judge, Mrs Abigail Animah Asare said among other things that the sentence was the minimum one because the accused persons did not make the work of the court difficult.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi