‘OV’ secures first conviction

The Obuasi Circuit Court, presdided over by Justice F.W.K. Nawura, last Wednesday fined seven of the 11 persons arrested at Akrokerri in the Ashanti Region on August 30, 2017 by the Joint Taskforce GH¢2,400 each for engaging in illegal mining.

This is the first conviction of the 308 persons so far arrested by the Operation Vanguard, Joint Taskforce.

The 11 persons were all charged on two counts of conspiracy to commit crime (undertaking small scale mining without licence) and undertaking small scale mining without licence.

The two other suspects –  Opoku Agyemang Richard, 32 and Sulemana Mohammed, 25 pleaded not guilty on the first count and were also convicted on the second count to a fine of GHC 2,400 or in default four months in prison in hard labour.

The remaining three accused persons namely, Yaw Amoako, 49; Babana Sule, 33 and Samuel Nunoo, 30 who pleaded not guilty to both counts were granted bail to the tune of GHC 30,000 to reappear on October 5, 2017.

Earlier this week, the Joint task force appealed to the Ministers of Defence and Interior to help speed up prosecution of suspects arrested.

Commenting on the fines, the Convenor of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, Mr Kenneth Asigbe, called for harsher punishment for persons arrested for engaging in galamsey.

He described the fines as too linient  and not deterent enough considering that persons involved in illegal mining may find such fines easy to pay.

The Media coalition has been at the forefront of the fight against galamsey and has pledged not to relent in its efforts to ensure that the practice is eliminated to save the environment from further deterioration.

Source: Graphic

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