An Accra Circuit Court has fined Ofoulo Aboubacar Mohamed Jamal, a 20-year-old Malian, GH¢24,000 for breaching restrictions on travels into the country.
Jamal has since paid the fine — which could have handed him a four years imprisonment, if he had defaulted — and has been handed over to the Operations Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for further action.
He was arrested by immigration officers at the Kambaa Immigration Inland Checkpoint in the Upper West Region for entering Ghana through an unapproved route during the pendency of imposition of restrictions on travels to Ghana.
He pleaded guilty for violating the Imposition of Restriction Act, 2020 (ACT 1012) and was sentenced on his own plea by the court, presided over by Mr Emmanuel Essandoh, to a fine of 2,000 penalty units (GH¢24,000).
The facts, as presented by the prosecutor, Chief Superintendent of Immigration (CSI) Philip Andoh, were that on March 30, 2020, Jamal was arrested at Kambaa Immigration Checkpoint by personnel of the Upper West Regional Immigration Command for illegally entering the country through an unapproved route when the Imposition of Restriction on travels to Ghana was in force.
The prosecution said Jamal was quarantined and examined for COVID-19 at the Wa Regional Hospital which proved negative.
He was subsequently referred to the National Headquarters of the GIS in Accra for investigation.
The investigation revealed that Jamal had his wife and two children resident in Accra, and also traded in sugar, maize and other related products.
The prosecution said prior to the imposition of restrictions on travels to Ghana by the government to help curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, Jamal made a business trip to Mali earlier in March this year.
In his quest to enter the country, notwithstanding the restrictions imposed on travels, he engaged the services of a motor rider to convey him from the border of Burkina Faso to Ghana’s border through an unapproved route at Hamile in the Upper West Region.
He continued with his journey to Accra but was arrested at the Kambaa Immigration Checkpoint at Nandom, also in the Upper West Region.
Jamal admitted to the offence after the investigation and was charged for violating the restrictions imposed on travels to Ghana.