Crime & Punishment of 2014-06-26

Businessman fined for exporting charcoal

An Accra Circuit court on Wednesday fined Ali Deris, Chief Executive of Golden Way Merchant Limited, for conspiracy to commit crime and exportation of Charcoal. Ali was fined 500 penalty units for Conspiracy to commit crime or in default serve six months imprisonment and 1,500 penalty units for Exportation of charcoal or in default serve one year imprisonment.

Initially, Ali together with two other accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges. The other accused persons are Emmanuel Ndeogo, a freight forwarder and Mercy Bentil, a businesswoman.

Superintendent of Police, Mrs Faustina Agyiewaa Kodua Andoh-Kwofie, told the court that the complainants in the case are officials of the Energy Commission. She said on February 5, the accused persons were arrested when they tried to illegally export seven forty footer containers of charcoal to Europe and the Middle East.

She said the Commission is the institution responsible for the regulating and authorization of charcoal export in the country. The prosecution said the Commission issues licenses to exporters, who must show their source of production of the charcoal, other than purchasing same from the open market or production from the country’s forest.

She said investigations established that Emmanuel, who was once an employee of Oskan Industries Limited, a licensed charcoal exporter photocopied and forged the license number EC/CEL/ 12-12-001 of the said company. Mrs Andoh-Kwofie said Emmanuel also forged the expiry dates of the said document to read “December 20, 2014” instead of “December 20, 2013”.

“He also forged the exportable tonnage allowed to read 900 tonnes instead of 500 tonnes,” she added. She said investigation further revealed that Emmanuel used the forged license to export five forty-footer containers belonging to Ali, meanwhile the accused persons labeled the containers as “Shea Cake” to avoid detection by the Commission.

She said in their attempt to export the seven, forty-footer containers, they were arrested and it was found that Golden Way Merchant Limited is an incorporated body and a licensed Exporter of charcoal with a quota of 150 tonnes but resort to illegal exportation of charcoal procured from the open market. She said Mercy is not a licensed exporter but engaged in the illegal exportation of charcoal.

The prosecution said Emmanuel admitted having forged the documents belonging to Oskan Industries Limited, which he used illegally to export containers of charcoal. “Emmanuel presented an amount of GH¢15,000 to witness in this case, who are the arresting officers in order to corrupt them,” she said.

Seven, forty-footer containers loaded with charcoal belonging to Ali and Mercy were intercepted by the arresting officers and impounded at the Tema harbour.

Meanwhile the court, presided over by Mr Seyram Azumah, has directed that the five forty-footer containers belonging to Ali be sold and the money deposited in government coffers. The case is adjourned to July 15.

Source: GNA
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