A staff of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has been sentenced to 15 months in prison in hard labour.
The convict, Gabriel Gyamerah Sarpong was accused of extorting over GH¢200,000 from illegal miners to aid them carry out illegal mining activities.
Sarpong was arrested on Tuesday [September 13, 2022] on the instruction of the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker.
The Deputy Minister had disclosed to Graphic Online last Tuesday that Sarpong was handed over to the Ministries Police after he allegedly confessed to extorting the money.
In court today [Friday], Sarpong pleaded guilty when he was arraigned at an Accra Circuit Court.
The court, presided over by Evelyn Asamoah sentenced him accordingly to 15 months in prison in hard labour.
Gabriel Gyamerah Sarpong, pleaded guilty to the charge of defrauding by false pretence when he appeared before the court today (September 16, 2022).
He was therefore convicted on his own plea.
He was charged with two counts of falsely pretending to be a public officer and defrauding by false pretence.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the count of pretending to be a public officer.
The case has been adjourned to October 12, 2022 for trial to commence for the second charge.
Counsel for the convict, Mudu Ade Lawal, in his plea said the convict was a civil servant and a good citizen who had been diligently working in the ministries but was, however, “pushed by the devil” to commit the act.
He pleaded with the court to show mercy adding that the convict was a young man who had a lot of service to render to the nation if given the chance.
“He is an IT specialist and if given a custodial sentence will mix with hardened criminals which will make him worse off,” he added.
His plea, was, however, not taken by the court and was thus sentenced to imprisonment in hard labour.