Regional News of Fri, 16 Jan 20041

Farmer jailed for attempted smuggling of cocoa,

Sekondi, Jan 16 GNA- A 36-year-old farmer, Kwaku Deglo, resident at Brebre in the Juabeso-bia district of the Western Region was on Friday jailed eight years by a Sekondi Circuit Court, for attempting to smuggle dried cocoa beans to Cote D'Ivoire.

He pleaded guilty.

Police Chief Inspector Isaac Nyarko told the court presided over by Mr. Alex Owusu-Ofori, that on March 19, 2002, at about 1330 hours, Deglo a native of Tsevie in Cote D'Ivoire and two others now at large were attempting to smuggle about 50 kilograms of dried cocoa beans from Brebre to Cote D'Ivoire but they were arrested by one Ibrahim Malik, a customs officer.

The group allegedly assaulted Malik, and a Police officer who was on duty nearby went to his aid.

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Before passing sentence, Mr. Owusu-Ofori said smuggling of goods and evasion of taxes were the bane on the Ghanaian economy, and it was time that the courts assisted the law enforcement agencies to stop the practices.

He said in this era when the tax payer's money was being used for the mass cocoa spraying exercise by the present government, the various courts must pass deterrent sentences, to make smuggling of cocoa and other items non-lucrative business.

Mr. Owusu-Ofori warned that anyone caught, would not be spared.

Source: GNA

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