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15.12.2004 Crime & Punishment

Farmer fine 1.5 million cedis for child labour

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Sunyani (B/A), Dec. 15, GNA - The Sunyani Magistrate Court has fined Kepalah Dagarti, a farmer one million, five hundred thousand cedis for using an eight-year-old to cultivate his yam farm at Yahema in Sunyani.

Dagarti pleaded guilty of exploitation and child labour and was fined 1.5 million cedis or in default, 18 months imprisonment. Prosecuting, Police Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Alex Yartey Tawiah told the court presided over by Mr Joseph Robert Quanson that, the accused is a brother to the victim's father, Mr Suma Dagarti Dosia. He said the accused on November this year, visited the victim's parents at Obuasi and asked the brother to allow him to go and stay with his daughter (victim) in Sunyani so that she could have better education.

He said the girl's father obliged to the brother's suggestion and asked the girl to go with her uncle to Sunyani. DSP Yartey Tawiah said the accused refused to send the girl to school as promised but rather used her to cultivate his yam farm. The victim, who was not happy with her uncle's action packed her things when the accused left to the farm leaving her and his little baby at home, he said.

The prosecutor said the victim then set off to her parents at Obuasi on foot.

A taxi driver saw the girl on the Sunyani-Chiraa road carrying her bag and stopped and ask where she was heading. He said the girl narrated her story to the taxi-drive and after that he took her to the Sunyani Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU). He said the girl directed the police to the accused's place for his arrest and after investigations, he was charged with the offence. The court ordered that 500,000 cedis of the fine be given to the girl as compensation and the police to transport the girl back to her parents at Obuasi with another 500,000 cedis.

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