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04.10.2004 Crime & Punishment

Court jails bitumen thief.

By GNA

Juaso (Ash), Oct. 04, GNA -- A bitumen tanker driver of Sonitra Construction, who stole 17 million cedis worth of bitumen, being used to asphalt Juaso-Atwidie road has been sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Juaso Circuit Court.

Sumaila Malix alias Asuma, pleaded not guilty to a charge of stealing. The court, however, acquitted and discharged Haruna Abu, a sprayer of the company, for lack of evidence.

Osei Kwadwo, a trader from Kumasi, who pleaded not guilty to a charge of dishonestly receiving, was fined 20 million cedis, or in default two years jail term.

Prosecuting, Police Inspector J.M. Adams, told the court, presided over by Mr Jacob Boon that on September 2 this year, Sonitra Construction Company was asphalting the road works at Atwidie near Juaso and in the course of the company's work, the driver and the sprayer sneaked to the outskirts of Atwidie, discharged bitumen which he was using on the road into some containers.

Inspector Adams said thereafter, the two accused persons moved the tanker away, and while the driver was emerging onto the Atwidie-Asankare road, he was signalled by the complainant to stop. Inspector Adams said the security officer on duty who came to the scene, confronted the driver and his accomplice, but they denied discharging any bitumen.

The prosecution said the driver and his accomplice stated that the bitumen had been discharged into the two large containers, and that he (security officer) posted some of his men to keep watch over the bitumen in the container.

Inspector Adams said on September 3, at about 2:30 pm, security men at the company were alerted when it was learnt that some people had been engaged to process the bitumen.

The prosecution said when the Juaso policemen were informed, they arrested those who were processing the bitumen.

Inspector Adams said during interrogation, they mentioned Osei as having brought them from Kumasi to do the job, and while this was going on, Osei appeared with the bitumen tanker to siphon the bitumen into the tanker.

The prosecution stated that Osei mentioned the two accused persons as those who sold the bitumen to him at four million cedis, adding that he had made part payment of 2.5 million cedis.

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