Five individuals engaged in illegal mining activities in the Ankobra River without authorization have been collectively sentenced to a total of 125 years in prison with hard labor.
The convicted individuals, namely Richard Kumasi, Fiamahe Jerry John, Korblavi Kumasi, Daniel Afenu, and Matthew Gedie, initially pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and engaging in small-scale mining without proper authorization.
Following a trial, Mrs. Hathia Ama Manu, the presiding judge, found all five defendants guilty of the charges brought against them.
On the first count, each defendant received a five-year prison sentence. On the second count, each defendant was fined GH￠120,000 (Ghanaian Cedis) or, in default, would serve an additional five years in prison with an additional 20 years of hard labor. These sentences will run concurrently.
The prosecution was led by Mr. Kingsley Agyekum, the Assistant State Attorney of the Western Region. The complainant in the case was Nana Yaw Baako, the Assemblymember of the Himan Electoral Area. The accused individuals were identified as illegal miners residing in Ankobra within the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality.
The incident occurred on August 17, 2021, at around 1500 hours when the complainant and five community opinion leaders received information about the accused individuals using a dredge machine, commonly known as a “Boat,” for gold prospecting in the Ankobra River.
Acting on this tip, they proceeded to the village of Kpoviadzi in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality, where they apprehended the five individuals who were engaged in the illegal mining activity. The accused were subsequently handed over to the Prestea police for further investigation, and the dredge machine was set on fire.
Prior to the trial, the five defendants had been granted bail, as requested by their counsel, Mr. Augustine Arvoh-Mensah.