The Mpraeso Circuit Court has sentenced a 30-year-old fuel station manager, Ernest Boakye, to 120 months imprisonment in hard labour for stealing GHc398,545.00 belonging to the company, INFIN Ghana Limited, an oil marketing company.
Boakye, charged with stealing, pleaded not guilty.
The court, presided over by Mr Stephen Kumi, however, after nine months of trial, found him guilty.
The prosecution called four witnesses to make their case but the accused, however, did not call any witness during the trial.
Accused, now convict, in his defence, contended that he did not know how prosecution and the complainant’s company arrived at the amount of money stolen.
He prayed the court to furnish him with copies of the audit report and the court obliged.
In sentencing the accused, the court took into consideration mitigating factors such as his age and the remorse displayed in the dock.
However the trial judge noted that it also took “a dim view of the act and conduct of the accused,” adding that “there were more extenuating factors that worked against the accused.”
He said the accused, instead of being a “responsible and honest employee, by showing exemplary behaviour, he rather, in most despicable and condemnable of circumstances, defrauded and made use of the company’s money and staff whom he was to manage their sales.”
“The convict has indeed shown to be plainly dishonest character. The court cannot gloss over the fact that the convict committed the act around the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, when most businesses in the country were in distress and had to fold up and many workers lost their jobs.”
Through fraudulent acts and dishonest employees, some companies had collapsed, the court said, adding that the accused deserved a custodial sentence to serve as deterrent.
Prosecution said in May, 2021, an administrator of INFIN Ghana Limited detected some discrepancies in the pay-in-slips as against bank statements from the accused person.
Based on that on June 16, 2021, the complainant and other witnesses in the case arrived at Kwahu-Tafo to conduct a routine check and it was discovered that Boakye had dishonestly appropriated cash in the sum of GHC92,457.00, which led to his arrest, prosecution said.
It said Boakye declined to say anything in his caution statement, and on July 5, 2021 the complainant’s company dispatched its internal auditor, Harry Gyamfi, to Boakye’s station at Kwahu-Tafo to conduct a routine check of sales.
At the end of the auditing conducted in the presence of the accused, it came to light that he had embezzled GHc398,545.00.