A 26-year-old scrap dealer who stole copper cables worth GH¢24,200.00 belonging to the Northern Electrification Department (NED) of the Volta River Authority has been sentenced to a 15-year jail term by the Fiapre Circuit Court.
The convict, Kwabena Dennis, was found guilty on three counts of stealing, causing damage and carrying offensive weapons.
Passing judgement, the presiding judge, Mr Benjamin Yaw Osei, said there had been rampant theft of electricity cables in the Brong Ahafo Region and the culprits always carried offensive weapons and threatened to harm those who tried to apprehend them.
He said the court decided to hand him that sentence to serve as a deterrent to others.
The facts of the case as presented by Superintendent of Police Fredrick Kwadwo Agyei were that for some time, the VRA NED office in Sunyani had detected thefts of copper and aluminium bare conductors (cables) within the Sunyani Municipality. They, therefore, decided to collaborate with the police to clamp down on the culprits.
Mr Agyei told the court that at about 2.30 a.m. on March 26, this year a combined team of police and VRA security who went on patrol duties at the SSNIT Flats area in Sunyani noticed a power outage in the Regional Police Commander’s bungalow, the Regional Minister’s residence and the entire SSNIT Flats area.
He said the team quickly moved to the area and found that the copper cables on the electricity poles, valued at GH¢24,200.00, had been cut and some parts taken away.
According to the prosecutor, while searching the area, the team found one big cable, a cutter, a fertiliser sack and other items which they sent to the police to make a report.
Mr Agyei said at about 2.20 a.m. on March 28, this year the patrol team saw the convict in the same area, parking his motorbike and carrying a black bag containing some copper cables, two fertiliser sacks and also armed with a jackknife.
The convict was subsequently confronted by the team but he could not offer any tangible reason for being at the place and was, therefore, arrested.
Mr Agyei stated that prior to his arrest, the convict and his accomplices had gone to Abesim area to cut the electricity cables leading to the Ghana Water Company Headworks, the main source of water supply to the municipality and its environs, thereby damaging the company’s main automatic circuit breaker valued at GH¢10,000.00.
As a result of the action, the prosecutor said, the operations of the machines of the Ghana Water Company were disrupted and water supply to the municipality was interrupted for four days.