Two men have been jailed for stealing a half bag of cocoa beans at Assin Fosu in the Central Region.
The two, Michael Etuah, 23, a Junior High School graduate, and Bernard Obiri, 20, a Junior High School dropout have been working as by-day labourers for the past five years.
They are to serve a 24-month jail term cumulatively for stealing Four Hundred and Twenty Ghana cedis (GH¢ 420) worth of cocoa beans.
Engaging in menial jobs has been the young adults’ source of income since they do not have the means to enrol in school or acquire any form of skills.
“I had to drop out of school since my family struggled to cater for my school expenses,” Obiri said.
In an interview with crimecheckghana.org, the two recounted how they broke into a cocoa dealer’s shop to steal.
According to them, a third member of their group bolted with the day’s earnings.
“We earned One Thousand Five Hundred Ghana cedis for weeding a 6-acre farm at a village around Assin Fosu. My elder brother made away with the money when he sent me to buy medicine,” Etuah recounted.
Determined on going home with money, the young adults broke into a shop and stole a half bag of cocoa beans.
“ I am the breadwinner at home, therefore, I could not go home with an empty pocket and that was what compelled me to steal,” Obiri told crimecheckghana.org.
Recounting his experience in jail, the 20-year-old, Bernard said, it had not been easy.
“We are fed porridge with no sugar nor bread in the morning, sometimes we add salt to it so we can drink,” he said.
The two were fined One Thousand Four Hundred and Forty Ghana Cedis each in default serve 12 months in prison.
Through its Petty Offenders project, Crime Check Foundation (CCF) paid the fine for both men.
“I am happy to be going home today and I promise never to come back here again, I will stop smoking marijuana,” an excited Bernard said as he thanked CCF donors.
On his part, Michael said he was ready to put an end to his seven-year addiction to Marijuana.
“This is not the life I wanted to live but after the demise of my mother, I did not get any support from my father and that was what discouraged me from furthering my education, there was no help.
“After my experience here, I know resorting to crime is not the best, so I promise to turn a new leaf and end my years of marijuana addiction,” he said.
Petty Offenders Initiative
The Crime Check Foundation is assisting in the decongestion of prisons across the country by paying fines for minor offenders. Thanks to the Foundation and its donors, many of such offenders have been released and successfully reintegrated into society.
CCF continues to urge the government to swiftly pass the Non-Custodial Sentencing Bill into law.