An Information Technology (IT) Specialist with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Gabriel Gyamara Sarpong has been sentenced to15 months in jail for impersonating his Deputy Minister, George Mireku Duker.
He was slapped with two charges to wit; falsely pretending to be a public officer and defrauding by false pretences.
Gabriel Sarpong who denied the first charge, pleaded guilty to defrauding by false pretences which is the 2nd count, a development that baffled his lawyers.
He was subsequently convicted on his own plea.
He was said to have obtained some GHc200k from illegal miners and other mining-related activities in the name of the Deputy Minister.
In court on Friday, September 16, 2022, after pleading guilty, his lawyers led by Muda Ade Lawal by way of mitigation prayed the court to hand him a non-custodial sentence.
The prosecution led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Evans Kesse on his part said, the accused is not known to the law and leaves the sentencing in the hands of the court.
The court presided over by Her Honour Evelyn Asamoah prior to her sentence said, the nature of the punishment must commensurates with the offence.
She consequently sentenced the convict to 15 months in jail in hard labour on count two which is defrauding by false pretences.
Devil pushed him
Lawyer Ade Lawal while praying for mitigation said, his client diligently served until this time when “the devil pushed him.”
Counsel argued that, the convict is a good citizen and IT specialist and that, he has a wife and two children and if given custodial sentence his wife and children will have problems.
“He is a young man who has a lot to offer his country. We pray for non-custodial sentence. If given custodial sentence, he will be mixed with hardened criminals and he will come out worse,” counsel noted in his plea for mitigation.
Lawyer Lawal contended that his client has regretted his actions “that’s why he pleaded guilty” before urging the court to tamper justice with mercy to hand him non-custodial sentence.
ASP Evans Kesse, the Prosecutor told the court that, the convict is not known to the law.
“We leave the sentence in the hands of the court,” ASP Kesse said.
The court after listening to the parties said a stiffer punishment is required to deter others from doing same.
The court after sentencing him to 15 months in hard labour, directed the prosecution to file disclosures by October 5, in respect of the first count which the accused denied.
The case has been adjourned to October 12, 2022.
The brief facts of the case as narrated to the court by the prosecutor ASP Kesse were that the Complainant is George Mireku Duker, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Accra.
The accused person Gabriel Gyamara Sarpong he said is a Civil Servant with the same ministry and lives at Amasaman.
The prosecutor said, sometime in December 2021, the accused, Gabriel Gyamara Sarpong contacted a witness in the case to meet so they could talk about a business deal.
ASP Kesse said, the following week, the witness met accused and the accused told him that the business was about mining and since the witness has been to various mining sites in the country, he could best execute the task the same month.
He said, the accused Gabriel Gyamara Sarpong called the witness on phone and told him that the Deputy Minister had authorized that the witness could mobilise his men to operate as such.
Fake Minister’s contact
He told the court that, the Accused person then gave a fake MTN number 0244916900 as the Deputy Minister’s contact number through which he could call when he needed him.
The prosecutor said, the witness then mobilised his men and went to Obuasi, met the Police and called the MTN number accused gave to him as the Deputy Minister’s number for the sad Minister to communicate with the Police for confirmation.
He said, Accused Gabriel Gyamara Sarpong who responded to the call as though he was the said Minister told the Obuasi Divisional Commander to accord the team any assistance needed.
“The witness after their operations realized cash over GHc200k and sent same to the accused who had impersonated as the Deputy Minister,” the prosecutor said.
“The witness after operating at Obuasi decided to proceed to Manso Nkwanta for another operation and met the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) who told the MCE about his mission there and tried reaching out to the Deputy Minister on the MTN number given to him by the accused but there was no response
The prosecutor said, the Manso Nkwanta MCE then alerted the Witness that, it will be in his own interest fo come down to Accra to meet with the Deputy Minister and verify if the Deputy Minister had really sanctioned their task.
Minister’s denial of authorisation
ASP Kesse said, on September 13, 2022, the Witness met with the Deputy Minister and disclosed that he has been working at the mining sites on his authorization.
“The Deputy Minister denied knowledge of it and sent for accused whom after questioning was handed over to Police.”
The investigator said, the accused in his investigation caution statement admitted to the Offence and indicated that he used part of the money he received from the witness to purchase a black Elantra saloon vehicle which has been retrieved and also invested part of it into his building located at Amasaman.
The prosecutor said, investigations were still ongoing and therefore want accused remanded to assist further investigations.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/Murtala Inusah