16.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Driver gets 10 years for stealing

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Accra, March 16, GNA- A 32-year-old driver who stole a caterpillar worth 250 million cedis and sold it at three million cedis was on Thursday sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with hard by a Circuit Court in Accra.

James Amartey, charged with conspiracy and stealing, pleaded guilty and was convicted on his own plea.

With him in the dock was Issah Alhassan, a 25-year-old scrap dealer, who was also charged with dishonestly receiving. He pleaded not guilty and the court remanded him into prison custody to reappear on March 29.

Prosecuting Deputy Superintendent of Police Eric Amoako told the court that the complainant was an accountant of John Atia Engineering Company limited, road contractors based in Kumasi. Amartey resides at Teshie while Alhassan also resides at Kantamanto in Accra.

Prosecution said two years ago, the company was contracted to construct the Brekuso-Abir road. In the course of executing the project, one caterpillar valued 250 million cedis broke down and was parked at Agyemanti, near Berekuso.

On January 31, this year, the accountant visited the site and saw that the caterpillar had been stolen.

The prosecutor said the accountant therefore reported the matter to the chief of Agyemanti. Later he (the accountant) had information that it was Amartey and two others who stole the caterpillar. Amartey admitted the offence and indicated that he soled the caterpillar to Alhassan for three million cedis.

The Police arrested Alhassan who confirmed Amartey's side of the story.

Alhassan told the police that he dismantled the caterpillar and sold the parts as scrap to unknown scrap dealers at Tema.

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