Four persons appeared before the Tarkwa Circuit Court and were sentenced for mining at the Ndumfri forest reserve, near Simpa, in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality.
Gordon Naah, Bismark Joribon, Abdulai Asongmene and the fourth accused person, a minor, were charged with conspiracy to commit crime and illegal mining.
They all pleaded not guilty to the offence after the charges were read to them in Dagaare language.
The fourth accused person has been transferred to the Tarkwa District Court for sentencing.
On count one, each person was sentenced to five years imprisonment in hard labour.
On count two, each had a fine of GHS 120,000 (or in default five years imprisonment) plus 15 years imprisonment in hard labour.
The Western Regional Assistant State Attorney, Mr Kingsley Agyekum, who prosecuted, told the court presided over by Mrs Hathia Ama Manu that the complainants are officers from the Tarkwa Forestry Division.
He said the forestry officers were on their normal patrol duties to help preserve the forest reserve and prevent illegal miners who attempted to prospect for gold in it.
Mr Agyekum said during the monitoring, they found about 10 people mining in the Ndumfri forest reserve, but they hurriedly took to their heels when they spotted the officers approaching.
He said the complainants persuaded the accused persons and managed to apprehend four.
They found a gold detector machine, two shovels and two pickaxes which were used to mine in the forest reserve.
Mr Agyekum said they were handed over to the Tarkwa police with the exhibits and after investigation, all were charged with the offence.
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