The Konongo Divisional Police Command has busted a railway line stealing syndicate operating at Juaso and some communities within the Asante-Akim South District of the Ashanti Region.
The syndicate, believed to have succeeded in stealing large quantities of railway lines and steel sleepers in recent times, was tracked through intelligence reports and the vigilance of the public.
Those arrested are Yussif Hudu, who has been handed a four-year jail term, and Ibrahim Yakubu, also sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Juaso Circuit for stealing.
Chief Superintendent Shaibu Osei, Konongo Divisional Police Commander, said four other members of the syndicate currently facing trial at the Court, included Tweneboah Malik, Kwadwo Gyamfi, Daniel Appiah and Samuel Baffour.
A considerable number of stolen railway lines and steel sleepers had been retrieved from the syndicate, following their arrest at separate locations within the Asante-Akim South District, the police confirmed.
Chief Superintendent Osei, briefing the Deputy Minister of Railway Development, Mr. Kwaku Asante-Boateng, who was on a working visit to the Region, said the culprits were picked up at Duampompo, Breku, Nnadieso and Asante-Praso, all near Juaso.
“The police had information that members of the syndicate normally operate in the bush, especially in communities with railway lines passing through them,” he disclosed.
They purportedly cleared the bush in the afternoon, and in the evening would cut the railway lines into pieces, thereby transporting them to the market for sale, the Divisional Police Commander added.
He called on the public, particularly residents of communities with railway lines passing through them, not to hesitate to inform the police of the activities of these unscrupulous elements.
Mr. Asante-Boateng, who is also the Member of Parliament for Asante-Akim South, expressed worry at the manner in which some selfish Ghanaians had made the stealing of railway lines and steel sleepers their business.
“The nation has lost so much through such thefts,” he lamented, saying those involved in such illegal business would be dealt with ruthlessly when caught.”
The Deputy Minister, in line with his tour of the Region, visited the Ejisu, Konongo and Juaso Police Stations, where he inspected some retrieved stolen railway lines and steel sleepers.
He also toured the Adum locomotive workshop in Kumasi, which had large retrieved pieces of railway lines kept after they were intercepted at Obuasi, Akrokerri and some parts of the Region.
It costs the government about five million dollars to construct one kilometre of railway line, according to the Ministry of Railway Development.