Akim Swedru (E/R), March 12, GNA - Frank Antwi-Mensah, 54, was on Friday jailed five years with hard labour by a circuit court at Akim Swedru for masquerading as the "Akim Oda District Manager of the Forest Service Division (FSD)" of the Forestry Commission and issuing fake permits to people to fell timber.
Antwi-Mensah pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud and pleaded with the court to deal leniently with him because he was advanced in age. Prosecuting, Police Chief Inspector, Monku Kofi Oduro told the court presided over by Mr Edward Kwame Bosompem Apenkwah that Antwi-Mensah introduced himself to some chainsaw operators at Akim Achiase and the neighbouring communities as the new Akim Oda District FSB Manager on transfer from Accra.
The prosecution told the court that through such deception, Antwi-Mensah registered some operators and their chainsaws and issued them with fake permits to fell trees in portions of the Akim Nyankomase Forest Reserve.
He said the chainsaw operators managed to fell nine trees from the Reserve, sawed and carted them away.
Chief Inspector Oduro said in the process of felling more trees, the forest guards in charge of the Reserve apprehended the operators who showed them the fake permit, which they claimed authorised them to fell the trees.
He said the guards reported the case to their District Manager, Mr Thomas Okyere, who caused the arrest of the chainsaw operators who assisted the police to arrest Antwi-Mensah.
He said Antwi-Mensah extended his fraudulent activities to Accra where he was arrested and brought to Akim Oda and after investigations was charged with the offence.