4 Vodafone staff jailed over cable theft

Four workers of telecommunications company, Vodafone Ghana Limited were yesterday handed a 21-year jail term for stealing 1,280 metres of cables valued at Ȼ268,800 belonging to the company.

They are Frank Lemdi Prikutse , team manager; Alex Duker, a senior customer engineer; Emmanuel Achiayao and Robert Appiah-Mends.

The court, presided over by Justice Francis Obiri, found the accused persons guilty of conspiracy to commit crime and stealing, a charge they had all pleaded not guilty to.

The trial judge while sentencing the accused persons said he was surprised that all of them were workers of the company.

He said they rather ought to protect the company and not engage in acts that would make the company run at a loss, a cost which would eventually be pushed onto the sub­scribers.

He accordingly slapped Prikutse , Duker and Appiah-Mends with six years each for conspiracy and stealing, to run concurrently

For Achiayao , Justice Obiri said he did not play any major role in the steal­ing and so handed him a 3- year jail term for conspiracy and stealing, also to run concurrently.

However, the fifth accused, Samuel Mensah, a field engineer of the company, was discharged because according to the judge, he was “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

At the initial stages of the trial, the prosecutor, DSP Patrick Morkeh , said the complainant, Kweku Paintsil, is a private investigation intelligence manager for the company while the five accused persons are workers of Vodafone resid­ing at Ashaiman, Batsona Spintex Road, New Fadama and Nungua, respectively – all suburbs of Accra.

He said on April 1, 2014, Eva Antwi, the regional operations manager, detailed Prikutse to recover 220 metres of the Vodafone redundant underground 1000mm FF cables from the Teshie-Nungua exchange to be used for some repair works at the Achimota exchange.

DSP Morkeh stated that Prikutse in turn assigned the job to his other four col­leagues – Duker, Achiayao , Appiah-Mends and Men­sah – who undertook the cable recovery under his supervision.

According to DSP Morkeh , on April 2, the Corporate Security Department of Vodafone received intelligence that the recovered cables were in excess of 1,280 metres valued at È»268,800 and sold to a scrap dealer at Ashaiman The prosecutor stated that Prikutse was confront­ed as to how the cables were in excess but he denied having any knowledge about the excess. Further investigations led to the arrest of the culprits.

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