Nine persons were on Wednesday sentenced to a total of 76 years’ imprisonment by an Accra Circuit Court for stealing 7,194 bags of rice valued at GH¢661,848.
They are Francis Kodjo Damigu, aka Choka, unemployed; Emmnauel Kwame Bansa, Joseph Mumiru, Peter Mensah, all security officers.
The others are Daniel Akwetey Tetteh, aka Igbe; Stephen Ninyegu Tawiah, porter; Atando Mathew Baba, trader; Abdul Raman Sandow, driver and Iiasu Adam, scrap dealer.
Emmanuel Faith Adams, a trader and Abongo Daniel Adabase, trader were acquitted and discharged.
The eleven accused persons were charged with conspiracy, unlawful entry, stealing, dishonestly receiving and abetment of crime, charges they had all variously denied.
The prosecution, led by Inspector Martin Acheampong, said that the convicts on March 14, 2015 at Tema conspired and stole 7,194 bags of rice belonging to one Seidu Agongo.
Although the accused persons denied the charges, the court, presided over by Justice Francis Obiri, found them guilty and convicted them.
Delivering the sentence, the trial judge said the action of the convicts could collapse the business of the complainant and scare away investors from the country.
According to the judge, the accused persons do not deserve mercy because they did not show mercy to the complainant.
Justice Obiri added that Choka and Baba, in particular, deserved to be punished severely.
Lawyers for the accused persons, as well as Seidu Nasigri, who represented Adam, pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy.
The facts of the case as presented by the prosecution are that Agongo is the Chief Executive Officer of Sarago Company Limited, a company that imports assorted rice into the country.
He said in January this year, Agongo imported 45,762 bags of Aroma Vietnam Jasmine rice from MOI International Limited of Singapore and deposited same at the Customs Bonded Warehouse in Tema.
Inspector Acheampong said on March 6, 2015, the accused persons who were armed with pistols, conspired and broke into the warehouse and stole the said bags of rice.
He added that the bags of rice were sold to one Mansah Agbale and Bro. Kwame at New Achimota in Accra, adding that the convicts, after receiving the rice, re-bagged the rice and sold them to prospective buyers.
Inspector Acheampong said the police retrieved the original bags of rice from the house at New Achimota.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
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