A Takoradi circuit court has handed three illegal miners 15 years jail sentence each for undertaking small-scale mining without licence.
The court, which was presided over by Abigail Animah Asare, also charged the three to pay a fine of GHC240, 000 each.
The convicts, Joseph Donkor, 40, Joseph Paul, 27, Charles Ewusi, 27 were handed the 45 years jail term on two counts of mining without licence and conspiracy to commit crime.
The convicts were arrested on February 16, 2021, for illegally prospecting for gold in the Cape-3-Point Forest Reserve of the Western Region.
The judgment by Mrs Asare is the first in the many illegal mining cases pending before the judiciary in the Western Region, while some of the suspects in custody are assisting police with investigation.
First time offenders
Mrs Asare, in passing her final judgment, cautioned persons engaging in the illicit act to desist from the activity.
According to her, she has been lenient in his judgment since the three are first time offenders.
She said it was rather unfortunate that the convicts had to pay the price when the real financiers of the activity, which is causing havoc to the nation’s environment and water bodies, are out there.
Providing the facts before the court, the prosecutor of the case, Sergeant Robert Amonoo Yawson, said the Takoradi District Forestry Commission received a report of illegal mining activity.
Due to level of degradation, the Commission’s forest guards and the national response team were deployed to intercept the miners.
Upon seeing the task force, the group of miners took to their heels, but the three were arrested and a photograph taken for evidence.
They were subsequently handed over to the Takoradi Police Command for investigation where they were they admitted to the offence.
Sgt. Yawson said further investigations revealed that the three were mining without licence, contrary to Section 99(2) of the Amended Minerals and Mining Act of 2019, Act 995.
In the last few months, the government through the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry has waged war on the menace to recover the destroyed lands and restore them.
Through the deployment of the military personnel, many have been arrested and are awaiting prosecution.
Moreover, President Akufo-Addo and his appointees have declared their resolve to eradicate the ‘lucrative but problematic’ business.