The Koforidua Circuit Court ‘B’ has convicted the four Nigeriens arrested in the Atewa Forest Reserve for illegal mining to a jail term of 10 years each.
The Court Presided over by Her Honour Mercy Addai Kotei additionally slapped a fine of GHC120,000 each totaling Ghc480,000 against the Convicts.
The convicts, Ibrahim Dramani , 33, Osman Mumuni, 25, Adams Ali,20 and Amidu Aboubacar ,30 were convicted Thursday June 14,2018 on their own plea of guilty to the offences of Conspiracy to Commit Crime to wit: Mining without License and Mining without License hence sentenced to 10 years per each count to be run concurrently.
The Convicted Nigeriens were arrested by the Forestry Services of the Forestry Commission in the Eastern Region for attempt to illegally mine gold in the Atewa Forest Reserve.
The Begoro District Manager of Forestry, Kwame Oteng Awuah earlier explained to Kasapa News that the convicts sneaked into the Forest reserve prospecting gold but were arrested early morning of Thursday June 7,2018 upon tip off by the Rapid Responds Team of the Forestry commission.
“We had information that some illegal miners have sneaked into Kibi portion of the Atewa Forest reserve mining. Upon receipt of this information we organized the range,that is the range manager and rapid responds team at kibi went over the place at night to lay ambush.At dawn they heard people talking in the forest so they were monitored closely and after few hours later they saw the miners using their gold detection machines to search for gold by taken off the top soil but we managed to arrest four. “
The Investigator Detective Coporal Eric Afriyie after investigation and caution statement charged the convicts with the offences and put before court.
This is the second time within a year that the Koforidua Circuit Court ‘B’ has convicted foreign nationals enegaged in illegal mining. In August 30,2017,the Court convicted 29 foreign illegal miners 25 of whom were Nigeriens to a total fine of Ghc15, 690,000 in default the illegal miners will serve total of 139 years for illegally mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve .
Despite this feat, the Court has not been able to convict the over 15 chinese nationals put before it for same offence a situation operation vanguard taskforce has expressed worry over.