The Enchi District Magistrate court presided over by Mr Eric Baah Boateng has convicted a Ghanaian and two Guineans to a total of 54 months imprisonment in hard labour for illegally prospecting for gold in the Tano-Anwia Forest Reserve.
Kwame Banyanta, Mohammed Kabal and Mohammed Kamara would serve 18 months each.
The three who were charged with conspiracy to commit crime, mining gold without license and in breach of forest protection act pleaded not guilty but were convicted after trial.
Prosecuting, Detective Inspector Joseph Kwadwo Agyare, told the court that the complainant, Emmanuel Nkansah is a Range Supervisor of the Ghana Forestry Commission in Enchi, while the accused are residents of Wassa Agona in the Wassa Amenfi West Municipality.
He said for some time now, activities of illegal miners have increased in the Tano-Anwia Forest Reserve.
Mr Agyuare said despite tireless efforts made by the Commission to stop unauthorized persons from entering the forest reserve, these perpetrators continued to mine there.
He said at about 1800 hours on December 25, last year, the complainant got a tip-off that some illegal miners were in the forest reserve prospecting for gold.
The prosecution said based on that information, the complainant mobilized his guards and proceeded to the scene and met the accused busily working in the reserve with others now at large.
Detective Agyare said the complainant noticed that about a quarter of an acre within the vegetation had been devastated by the activities of the miners who were using pickaxes, shovels and metal detectors in their operations.
He said when the miners saw the complainant and his team, they took to their heels but the team pursued them and managed to apprehend the three accused while the others absconded.
The Prosecution said the convicts were later handed over to the police with all the exhibits retrieved from them.