Three persons have been sentenced to a total of 105 years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing a DAF cargo truck loaded with 600 bags of dried cocoa beans.
The convicts, Mohammed Ali, 61; Abdul Gafaru Abdul Salem, 25 and William Opoku, were sentenced to 35 years each by the Kumasi High Court presided over by Mr Justice Obeng Diawuo.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges, but after a full trial which lasted seven months, the court found them guilty. Passing judgement, Justice Diawuo described the convicts as callous people who should be kept away from society.
The facts of the case as presented by a State Attorney, Mr Emmanuel Lawrence Otoo-Boison were that on November 6, 2014, the deceased driver, John Asare, and his mate, Albert Osei, loaded 600 bags of dried cocoa beans from the Western Region and headed towards Takoradi via Kumasi.
After crossing the Bibiani barrier around 12.30 a.m., Asare’s truck, a DAF cargo truck with registration number AW 327-11 was crossed by an empty DAF truck with registration number AS 2605-10 driven by Opoku.
Moments afterwards, the convicts, who were armed, ordered the driver and his mate to get down and beat them mercilessly before tying their hands and legs with nylon robes. They were later blindfolded with adhesive tape.
Mohammed Ali then took control of the truck loaded with the bags of cocoa, while two others, currently at large, took charge of the empty truck in which they had put their victims and followed Ali.
On reaching the Akotaa Forest barrier, the police stopped them, but they ignored the police and sped off. It was at that point that the victims started shouting to attract the attention of the police and to silence them, the convicts pushed them out of the moving truck.
While falling, Osei pulled along Salem, so the two of them fell together. Asare, the driver, however, suffered multiple injuries from the impact of the fall and died on the spot, but Osei survived the injuries. Osei managed to make a report to the police at the barrier, who then alerted the Adiembra police to look out for the robbers.
On reaching Adiembra, the police stopped the robbers, but again, they refused to stop. They, however, stopped after the police threatened to shoot them and this led to the arrest of Ali and Opoku.
The police at the Akotaa barrier also arrested Salem who sustained injuries when he fell from the truck.