Tuesday, 23 July

Galamsey: Five Burkina Faso nationals caged 20 years each for mining

Upon their arrest, the accused attempted to flee the scene but were swiftly apprehended by the police

The Wa Circuit Court has handed down a 20-year prison sentence to each of the five Burkina Faso nationals convicted of engaging in illegal mining activities in the Wa West district of the Upper West region.

The court found the defendants guilty of violating section 23(1) of the Criminal Offences Act and section 99 of the Minerals and Mining Act as amended, marking a decisive stance against unlawful mining practices.

The conviction follows the arrest of the individuals on March 23 at an illegal mining site in Maase, Wa West district, after law enforcement officers received a tip-off about ongoing illegal mining activities in the area.

Upon their arrest, the accused attempted to flee the scene but were swiftly apprehended by the police. 

A subsequent search of the site led to the discovery of three water-pumping machines and various other mining implements, solidifying the evidence against them.

During interrogation, the defendants admitted to mining without a license, citing their previous engagement in Burkina Faso and their migration to Ghana due to drought conditions.

The court convicted the defendants on two counts: conspiracy to commit a crime (mining without a licence) and mining without a license as non-Ghanaian nationals, underscoring the severity of their actions.

Commenting on the ruling, Principal State Attorney Saeed Abdul Shakur emphasised the significance of the conviction as a deterrent to others involved in illegal mining activities. He noted that the accused were caught red-handed and could not refute their involvement, leading to the imposition of the minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for foreigners engaged in illegal mining in Ghana.

The Principal State Attorney highlighted the circumstances of the arrests, stating: "They were caught actually in the act, they were inside the pit when they were arrested. Eventually, they couldn’t do anything."

Source: classfmonline.com/Elikem Adiku