Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Nine ‘explosives throwing’ illegal miners, who have been scrounging and mining illegally at AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi underground operation were given a total of 45 years sentence by a Kumasi circuit court.
They were each ordered to pay GH¢5, 000 or in default serve five years imprisonment.
William Boampong, the Kumasi circuit judge, imposed the sentence on the convicts namely Kwaku Broni, Zakari Abdella, Joseph Agure Atopila, Sulemana Nodawu, Inusah Tahiru, Kofi Saga, Kwabena Baffoe, Abdul Razak and Ibrahim Yacus.
They were caught in the concession of the AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi and pleaded guilty to charges of being on the premises for unlawful purpose and operating small-scale mining without license.
Three other persons, who stood trial with them, Kofi Sikayena, Adongo Alasule and Yussif Dramani, however, insisted they were innocent and each was granted bail in the sum of GH¢5, 000, with a surety.
They would make their next court appearance on Wednesday, April 9.
Police Inspector Gulliver Kwabena Tenkorang told the court that the 12 miners were arrested on March 27 at about 1400 hours by the company’s security personnel and handed over to the Obuasi police.
The illegal miners, who are heavily linked by the Obuasi police to the explosive throwing syndicate dangerously operating underground illegally, claimed in their caution statement that they had been engaged by one Kumah, now on the run, to carry sack-loads of crashed rocks suspected to contain the ore at a fee.
Kumah, a hardcore illegal miner, has been on the wanted list of the national security task security taskforce since March last year, is believed to be hiding either in Kumasi or Dunkwa area.
The nine illegal miners are part of the more than 33 illegal miners who were nabbed by the combined team of the Obuasi Divisional Police at the northern section of the Obuasi mine by the military taskforce and the Obuasi mine security, March this year.