The police at Kade in the Kwaebibirem District of the Eastern Region have arrested seven persons who took advantage of the ongoing black-outs to steal large quantities of electric cables valued at about ¢1 billion.
The suspects who have already been arraigned before the Kade District Magistrate Court, presided over by Mr Kwaku Baah-Frimpong, are Madam Salifu Mamata, Awudu Yakubu, Mumuni Bawa, Mohammed Sulemana, Samuel Odoi, alias Bob, his 14-year-old son and another 14-year-old boy.
Mamata and Odoi have been remanded in prison custody to reappear on May 23, this year, while Awudu and Sulemana, who pleaded guilty to the offence, have been fined ¢5 million each or serve 18-month prison terms with hard labour each.
They are also to pay an additional ¢17.5 million each after serving their sentences.
The two minors have been remanded at the Borstal Institute in Accra for two weeks.
Six persons who were arrested for stealing about two kilometres of rail lines between Kade and Kusi have also been remanded in prison custody by the same court to reappear on May 23, this year.
They are Samuel Addo Dankwa, the ringleader, and Joseph Mensah, both welders, Mohammed Yaya, a diamond dealer, Sulemana Said, Daniel Attah and Alhassan Nurah, all electricians.
Briefing the Daily Graphic in Accra on Thursday, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kade, Mr Ofosu Asamoah, said following concerns raised by a number of people in the area over serious criminal activities, especially the stealing of electric cables and rail tracks, he appealed to the police to take action to contain the situation.
He said following the theft of cables used for the extension of electricity from Kade to the Kade Secondary School new site, a distance of about one kilometre, as well as, the residence of about 40 individuals at Kade, Akwatia and Boadua, the Kade Police and the local watch committee mounted a special two-day operation last Saturday.
Mr Ofosu Asamoah said with the help of an informant, the combined team arrested Madam Mamata, a scrap dealer, on suspicion, adding that during a search on her premises, large quantities of electric cables were found, some of which had been melted.
The MP said during police interrogation, Mamata mentioned Bawa as her source of supply and led the security agents to his residence for his arrest.
He said Bawa also led them to arrest Seidu Iddrisu as an accomplice, who in turn mentioned Odoi and the other accomplices.
According to Mr Ofosu Asamoah, when the police searched Odoi's house, they found a quantity of the cables and half a fertiliser-bag of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp (wee).
He said sensing danger that his father was in trouble, Odoi's son quickly took the suspected leaves and ran away with it as fast as he could but the policemen pursued and apprehended him.
On the rail tracks theft, he said when the security agents went to the site on Sunday night, they saw Dankwa, the ringleader, and his accomplices armed with pump action and locally manufactured guns and busily removing the tracks.
The MP said the police overpowered and arrested the suspects and arraigned them before the Kade District Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
They were remanded in prison custody.
Similar activities have been reported in the West Akyem District of the Eastern Region.
Credit: Daily Graphic