The Enchi District Magistrate court on Wednesday imposed fines totaling GH¢14,400.00 on two young men for illegally mining for gold nuggets in the Tano-Anwia Forest Reserve.
Lawrence Appiah alias owner, a student, 20, and Mathias Oppong Gyan, an excavator operator, 23, would serve nine months imprisonment each with hard labour in default.
The court also ordered the two to sign a bond to be of good behaviour for 12 months or in default nine months imprisonment each in hard labour.
Appiah and Gyan earlier pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit crime, entering forest reserve without permit and mining for gold without license, but they were convicted after trial.
Police Detective Inspector Joseph Kwadwo Agyare, prosecuting, told the court presided over by Mr Eric Baah Boateng, that the complainant Emmanuel Nkansah is a Range Supervisor of the Ghana Forestry Commission in Enchi.
He said the convicts reside at Mooseaso in the Wassa Amenfi West Municipality of the Western Region.
At about 0605 hours, on August 8, 2019, Appiah and Gyan together with others now at large, unlawfully sneaked into the Tano Anwia Forest Reserve to prospect for gold, the prosecutor said.
Detective Agyare said the complainant and his team who were on their usual patrol duties in the said Forest Reserve, spotted the two and their accomplices using shovels, pickaxe and metal detector machines in their operations.
He informed the court that Appiah, Gyan and their colleagues upon seeing the complainant abandoned their tools and bolted, but the Complainant and his team pursued and managed to apprehend the convicts.
Prosecution said the two were handed over to the Enchi police together with the exhibits they retrieved from them.