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Court jails driver five years, fines teacher for attempting to smuggle cocoa

The latest convictions mark yet another success in the crackdown of activities of syndicates engaged in smuggling of Ghana’s cocoa to neighbouring countries

Two persons, a driver and a teacher have been handed jail terms and fines by the Odumase-Krobo Circuit in separate incidents involving attempted smuggling of cocoa beans to Togo.

The latest convictions mark yet another success in the crackdown of activities of syndicates engaged in smuggling of Ghana’s cocoa to neighbouring countries.

The suspects were accosted by the anti-cocoa smuggling taskforce during routine operations last week around ‘Mame Water’ in the Eastern Region, whilst attempting to transport the smuggled cocoa beans to the neighbouring country.

The first accused person, Abraham Benning Donkor 38, a driver, was handed a five-year jail sentence with hard labour on one count of unauthorised purchasing of cocoa beans contrary to Section4(1) of the Ghana Cocoa Board Act and additional fine of 250 penalty units for two counts of attempting to export cocoa beans which has not been inspected, graded and sealed by an inspector of cocoa contrary to Section 3 of Cocoa Industry Regulations Act 1968 (NLCD 278) and attempt to smuggle and export cocoa beans contrary to Section 317(g) of the Criminal Offences Act 29/60.

The second accused person, George Ametekpor a teacher, was also sentenced to a fine of 250 penalty units, amounting to GHC3, 000.00, after being found guilty on two counts of attempting to export cocoa beans which has not been inspected, graded and sealed by Inspector of Cocoa and attempt to smuggle and export cocoa beans contrary to section 317(g) of the Criminal Offences Act 29/60.

The accused persons pleaded guilty to all the charges and were convicted on their own pleas by the court presided over by His Honour Kwesi Abaiddu Apiate.

According to the facts of the case, the anti-smuggling taskforce on Thursday, 9 May, 2024   intercepted Abraham’s vehicle at “Mame Water” just after crossing the Adomi Bridge with the five bags of cocoa.

Upon interrogation, the accused admitted ownership and revealed that he loaded the goods from Agbogbloshie Yam Market and was heading to Dzinidzini in the Oti Region.

The next day, Friday, 10 May, 2024, the team again intercepted another vehicle loaded with four bags of cocoa at the same location around 3:15pm. Upon questioning, George Ametekpor, admitted ownership but said he was contracted by someone to transport the cocoa beans from Kpong to someone in Juapong.

However, when the alleged owner was reached on the phone, he promised to follow up but never showed up.

George was subsequently arraigned before the court where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced accordingly.

The court also ordered that the cocoa beans be confiscated and handed to authorities at Ghana Cocoa Board.

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