A staff member of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Gabriel Gyamera Sarpong, has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment in hard labour for impersonating the Deputy Minister of the Ministry, George Mireku-Duker, to aid illegal miners.
Mr Sarpong received Ghc 200,000 from a businessman to grant him access to a mining area to undertake small-scale illegal mining, or galamsey.
He initially approached the businessman as someone who can get him in touch with the Deputy Lands Minister, then later impersonated the Minister during a phone call with the businessman, giving him permission to mine on the land in question.
Mr Sarpong was arrested after the businessman discovered the deception and charged with one count of falsely pretending to be a public officer to which he pleaded not guilty, and another count of defrauding by false pretences to which he pleaded guilty, and was convicted on his own plea.
Her Honour, Evelyn Asamoah, the presiding judge, sentenced him to 15 months’ imprisonment with hard labour on his guilty plea and ordered the prosecution to file their disclosures on the other count of falsely pretending to be a public officer to which the convict pleaded not guilty.
Facts Of The Case
ASP Evans Kesse presented the facts of the case in court, revealing that in December last year, the convict contacted an unnamed witness in the case and presented a mining idea to him, to which he signalled his interest.
The convict later called the witness on phone and told him that the Deputy Minister had authorised the witness to mobilise his men to operate, and also gave the witness an MTN number on which he could reach the Deputy Minister.
“The witness then mobilised his men and went to Obuasi, met the Police and called the MTN number accused gave to him as the Deputy Minister’s number for the said Minister to communicate with the Police for confirmation. Accused Gabriel Gyamera Sarpong, who responded as the said Deputy Minister, told the Obuasi Divisional Commander to accord the Team any assistance needed.” ASP Kesse said.
After receiving this reassurance, the witness paid Mr Sarpong Ghc 200,000 for his services.
After operating at Obuasi, the witness proceeded to Manso Nkwanta for another operation and met the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and told him about his mission.
The witness tried reaching the Deputy Minister on the number given to him by the convict but there was no response, so the Manso Nkwanta MCE then urged the witness to go to Accra to meet with the Deputy Minister and verify if he had really sanctioned their task.
At their meeting, the Deputy Minister said he had no knowledge of giving any authorisation for the witness to carry out mining works in Obuasi.
At that point, Mr Sarpong was arrested and admitted his crime under questioning, revealing he used the proceeds of his crime to purchase a black Elantra saloon vehicle and also invested part of it into his building located at Amasaman. The vehicle has been retrieved by the police.