Three illegal miners have been jailed five years each by a circuit court in Koforidua for engaging in illegal mining at Tentenku No.8 near Kofi Pare in the Kraboa Coaltar district of the Eastern Region.

The convicts, Alhassan Abass, 28, Ibrahim Mohammed,45 and Munkaila Djebo, 38 were apprehended by personnel of Operation Vanguard stationed at New Abirem.

They were charged for conspiracy to commit crime and mining without license contrary to Section 99 (2) of the Minerals and Mining Act 2015.

The convicts pleaded not guilty to the charges. The first accused, Abass Alhassan claimed he was an excavator mechanic hired to repair a broken down excavator.

The third accused, Munkaila Djebo also argued he was a trader who had gone to the site to sell shoes.

But after three years of trial, the prosecutor, a state Attorney, Cyril Keteku proved beyond reasonable doubt that they were mining illegally on a one and half acre land.

The facts of the case as presented by the State Attorney, Cyril Keteku was that the complainants are personnel of Operation Vanguard stationed at New Abirem.

He said on November 26, 2018, at about 4:00 pm while the Vanguard team were on their normal patrol duty in Anum Apapam and its environs, they chanced on these persons mining illegally on a one a half acre land at Tentenku No.8.

He said the convicts attempted to escape but were arrested and handed over to the Coaltar Police for investigations.

According to him, the scene was visited with the complainants and it was observed that the Ayensu River had been polluted after excavating one and half acres of land.

He mentioned that one excavator which the convicts were using was immovable after they removed two control boards off it.

The Presiding judge, Mercy Addei Kotei found the three guilty and sentenced each of them to five years imprisonment.

In her judgment, she added that the third convict, Munkaila Djebo, a Nigerien be deported to his country after serving the jail term.