A taskforce set up by the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly to help promote sanitation in the oil city has, for the last few days, arrested and prosecuted thirteen offenders at the law court.
Fines ranging between Ghs600 and Ghs1, 800 were imposed on the culprits for indiscriminate waste disposal and open defecation.
Two of the culprits who could not pay the GH 1, 400 fine imposed on them for defecating openly have each been sentenced to three months imprisonment.
They are currently in custody at the Takoradi Central Police station awaiting result of their Covid-19 test before being sent to the prison to begin their sentence.
The assembly’s prosecuting officer, Justin Setta Sagoe, told journalists that the exercise would be sustained for the next three or four months, adding that members of the taskforce will not even go on break during the Christmas holidays.
He said they would be working in the nights too, adding that shop owners who fail to clear heaps of garbage in front of their shops at the end of the day’s activities before going home will be arrested and dragged to court the next day .
According to Justin, arrest and prosecution of culprits remain the alternative means of keeping Sekondi-Takoradi clean following failure by some of the residents to do the needful through constant sensitization on environmental cleanliness.
He stressed that the taskforce, which is made up of city guards, the police and military, would go all out enforcing the assembly’s sanitation by-laws to the letter in spite of interference by some traditional rulers, pastors and assembly members.
The prosecuting officer cited instances in which some members of the aforementioned groups had called pleading with him to set offenders free. “Some of them even call me when I’m busily prosecuting to stop,” he said.
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Justin reminded such opinion leaders that the taskforce had been given a mandate to execute and will not allow any one or group of persons dictate to it.
Again, he said, the taskforce is no respecter of political party affiliation and that culprits who mistakenly think they can use their NPP, NDC or CPP connections to avoid prosecution will be day-dreaming.
He said the assembly is poised to battle residents who do not want to conform to its by-laws, and urged all such residents to be ready for “real action.”