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20.05.2006 Crime & Punishment

Farmer fined for stealing cassava

By GNA

A 48-year-old farmer has been fined two million cedis by the Asamankese Circuit Court for stealing a quantity of cassava, worth 20,000 cedis, belonging to a woman farmer. Kwasi Kotoko pleaded guilty and will serve 12 months in jail in hard labour, if he defaulted in paying the fine.

Prosecuting, Police Chief Inspector Joseph Idan said, Kotoko and Yaa Azaglo were both farmers living at Kwaboanta and Madam Azaglo, who had a farm at Akrada, near Kwaboanta, lately experienced regular theft of her farm produce.

On May 12, this year, Kotoko went to harvest cocoa from his farm and when returning home, he entered the farm of Yaa and harvested some cassava but when he was seen and challenged by a witness in the case, he abandoned the cassava, which was in a sack and fled. The witness sent the cassava to Madam Azaglo and reported the conduct of Kotoko and she solicited the help of sympathizers, who helped her arrest Kotoko on May 13 and handed over to the Police. When asked by the Circuit Court Judge, Mr Kofi Akrowiah, why he stole the cassava, Kotoko replied that because he was hungry. Asked further why he should cultivate only cocoa knowing that he would need foodstuff, he said he had a cassava farm but the crop was yet to mature.

In his judgement, Mr Akrowiah deplored the behaviour of the accused and said cassava was not pawpaw or orange one could pluck, perhaps without the consent of the farm owner.

The Judge said stealing farm produce was a serious offence, similar to breaking into a room to steal someone's property. Mr Akrowiah said he would, however, have mercy on the accused and sentenced him to a fine of two million cedis or 12 months in prison in default.

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