Family Jailed For Stealing GH¢10 Corn Freed

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Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu has rescued a woman, her two daughters and grand-daughter, who were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for allegedly stealing corn leftovers estimated at GH¢10.

News of the incarceration of the family of four broke earlier this month at a workshop organized by the Perfector of Sentiments (POS) Foundation on Noncustodial or Alternative Sentencing Draft Bill.

One of the convicts (name withheld), who is a widow and reportedly has five children, was brought to the said workshop held at the Accra City Hotel to explain circumstances that led to their imprisonment.

She stated that her sister, who has six children, was also jailed three months alongside their mother after they were accused of stealing corn from a farm near Nsawam.

According to her, they had gone to the farm just to gather the corn leftovers after harvesting to feed their children but were arrested.

“The judge asked my sister to pay an amount of GH¢350 to save us from jail,” she added.

Atsu donated an amount of GH¢1,000 to ensure their release after news of their imprisonment went viral.

The money was reportedly given to Crime Check Foundation, which is pursuing their release from prison.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that they would gain their freedom today, October 16, 2018.

Commenting on the case, an executive of Crime Check Foundation, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng said: “Cases like this make a strong case for a review of Ghana’s criminal justice laws.”

He stated that “they may not have had permission for collecting the leftovers from the farm, but in a country where poverty is endemic in most rural communities, what some rural folks do is to search for rejected harvested corn to keep their families alive. Sadly the innocent baby of Joyce had to follow the mum to prison.”

He added that “they tell me their farmlands have been sold out to a company, so they have to go looking for corn which offers them Akple twice a day. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan has paid for their GH¢360 court fine to enable them go home on Tuesday to continue with their hustle. You can imagine the joy on their faces when CCF donated GH¢1,000 to them on behalf of Black Stars winger, Christian Atsu.”

Sensation 
The issue came to the attention of the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo during the said workshop on non-custodial sentencing.

She was of the view that sometimes the organizations that purport to be protecting human rights of prisoners tend to ‘sensationalize’ some cases without following the legal procedure to ensure the release of the affected persons.

She was of the view that if POS Foundation which brought the issue to the fore had followed due legal processes by engaging the services of lawyers or even paralegals the case of the woman and her two daughters would not have received public attention, making reference to the Biblical saying that “for lack of knowledge, my people perish.”

The Chief Justice asked officials of POS Foundation what steps they took to reverse the sentencing of the ‘convicts’ aside bringing the issue to public attention but officials of the Foundation could not give any tangible answer.