A circuit court in Koforidua in the Eastern region has sentenced four illegal miners to 16 years in prison for mining illegally in the Atewa forest reserve.
In what could be described as one of severest punishments handed to illegal miners, the convicts are also to pay a fine of 12,000 penalty units equivalent to ¢96,000.
Recounting the processes leading to these conviction, Kyebi Range Manager of the Forestry Commission, Jones Agyei Kumi said the ruling is “a victory for the sustainability of the environment.”
According to him, it has taken nine months for the court to decide on the case. It was on August 23, 2018, when a tip-off led to an arrest of the illegal miners who have finally been convicted.
He is hopeful that the remaining eight suspects on remand will also be prosecuted to deter others from illegally mining in forest reserves.
However, the wife of one of the convicts has pleaded with government to temper justice with mercy.
“I plead with the Ghana government to release my husband for I have no one to help me. They are allowing the Chinese to go free and jailing Ghanaians. There are no jobs,“ she told Kofi Siew of Joy News.