The Dormaa-Ahenkro Circuit Court has sentenced Alexander Addo, aged 24, to 15 years imprisonment in addition to a fine of GH¢120,000 for engaging in illegal mining.
The unemployed Addo pleaded guilty to the charge, and the court, presided over by Samuel Djanie Kotey, convicted and sentenced him on his own plea.
The court, therefore, gave him a fine of 10,000 penalty units which is equivalent to GH¢120,000 as a penalty unit is GH¢12.
But according to the court, if Addo fails to pay the fine he will serve an additional five-year jail term in hard labour, bringing the total sentence to 20 years imprisonment.
Police Inspector Emmanuel Asare told the court in the Dormaa Central Municipality in the Bono Region that the complainant, a farmer and the convict were residents at different suburbs at Wamfie, the district capital of Dormaa East in the Bono Region.
Inspt. Asare said the complainant owned a farmland located at ‘Wammu’, near Wamfie, where parts of that land had been cultivated with plantain and vegetables.
He said for more than a year now, the convict and other ‘galamseyers’ (illegal miners) took possession of the land and damaged it with their activities.
Inspt. Asare added all efforts made by the police and the complainant to arrest them failed until about four months ago when the complainant, with the assistance of some young men arrested the convict while he was actively engaging in illegal mining on the farmland.
The prosecutor said while escorting the convict to the police station he escaped, adding that at about 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 12, last year the complainant visited her farm and met the accused and one other accomplice mining illegally.
He said the complainant hid herself and invited her son, a witness in the case, to the scene and therefore strategised as to how to arrest them before they (complainant and son) left the scene for the house.
Inspt. Asare said at about 7 p.m. that day the complainant and her son went back to the farm and met the accused and his accomplice washing and sieving soil by the bank of the Wam River with the intention of getting gold.
The prosecutor said the convict and his accomplice fled when they saw the complainant and her son but the complainant and her son managed to arrest him (convict) and handed him over to the police together with a washing carpet and a plastic container which were retrieved from the scene.
Inspt. Asare said at about 7 a.m. on Monday, December 19, last year, the complainant returned to the scene and found a pickaxe, a shovel and a cutlass believed to be other implements used by the convict and his accomplice, adding that during investigations, the convict admitted the offence in his investigation caution statement to police and mentioned Effah of Wamfie as his accomplice.
He added that the police went to Effah’s house but was told he had travelled out of town and after investigations the convict was charged with the offence.