A TEMA-based popular scrap dealer, Alhaji Awudu Salifu, and three others have been dragged to court for dishonestly receiving 222 drums of lube oil, and a crankshaft valued at GH¢313,588.21. The three are Bright Yalley, also known as Nana, of Awudum, Tema Newtown, Kwadwo Oppong, Buokrom Estate, Kumasi, and Musah Kamat of Dichemso, Kumasi.
A statement of claim filed at the Tema High Court, dated 24th May, 2013, states that the plaintiff is a limited liability company incorporated under the laws of Ghana, and its main objective is fishing, including the export of fish and other sea food, whilst the defendants are businessmen resident in Tema and Kumasi.
The plaintiff says it imported into the country a quantity of lube oil to facilitate its operations and business, particularly, with its sea going vessels and their spare parts, including a crankshaft and a skiff boat propeller at great cost, and placed them in the Ghana Textile Manufacturing Company (GTMC) bonded warehouse situated within the Tema Heavy Industrial Area.
According to the plaintiff, on, or about the 13th of February 2012, the plaintiff, through its warehouse supervisor, detected that 222 drums of the lube oil, a crankshaft, boat propeller, and the CPU of the CCTV in the warehouse were missing. In the course of investigations, police took possession of a video footage recorded by the CCTV camera mounted within the GTMC warehouse.
In the footage were the following vehicles – AS 7619 E, WR 742 S, GR 2457 C and AS 1887 D – that were used to convey the drums from the premises. It was also observed that one Godfred, who was employed to guard the warehouse, was nowhere to be found. An informant, however, led the police to retrieve 61 drums of the lube oil from Kwadwo Oppong in Kumasi, and upon interrogation, it was established that Oppong bought the items from Musah Kamat of Dichemso, Kumasi, at a price of GH¢550 per drum, well below the open market price.
Kamat later mentioned Godfred and a certain Akwasi, both at large, as the persons who brought the items to him from Tema.
The police managed to retrieve 86 drums out of the missing 222 drums of lube oil, but could not recover the crankshaft, propeller, and CCTV-CPU.
Further investigations led to the arrest of Bright Yalley, who engaged the services of a forklift to load the items from the warehouse, and Alhaji Awudu Salifu, the scrap dealer who provided trucks to convey the drums of oil. According to one of the drivers, Alhaji Salifu issued him with a waybill for the journey to Kumasi, and another said that the crankshaft was off loaded at the shop of the Alhaji.
Also arrested was Samanhyia Mensah, a Delta Security Supervisor on duty at the GTMC yard on the day of the theft. The four were arrested and put before the Ashaiman Circuit Court presided over by Mr. Seyram T.Y. Azuma, together with others at large, on charges of stealing and dishonestly receiving. On 18th February, 2013, the defendants changed their initial plea of not guilty to that of guilty of the charges for which they were arraigned before the court.
The defendants were convicted and sentenced to a fine of 150 penalty units, or in default, 48 months imprisonment in hard labour. In addition, the defendants were ordered to pay to the plaintiff the value of 136 drums of the lube oil, since the police had been able to retrieve 86 drums from the defendants.
According to the plaintiff, till the date of initiating this legal action, the defendants had not paid anything, notwithstanding the express order of the Circuit Court, Ashaiman, and repeated demands on the defendants by the plaintiff.
The total cost of the remaining 136 drums and ocean freight, crank shaft and ocean freight, stiff boat and ocean freight, is pegged at US$176,887.27, while duty and transportation on the drums of oil, crankshaft, skiff boat, propeller, transportation of found drums from Kumasi, and the CCTV record comes to GH¢22,808.25.
Source: The Chronicle
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