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Tanker driver jailed for setting vehicle ablaze

An Accra Circuit Court has sentenced the tanker driver who, together with his mate and another accomplice, sold the contents of a diesel tanker and later set it ablaze to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour.

The convict, Awudu Yakubu, 34, pleaded guilty to all four counts and was convicted on his own plea.

His mate, Isaac Boadi, 19, however, pleaded not guilty to all the four counts and was thus granted bail to reappear before the court on September 25, 2019.

The court, presided over by Madam Afia Agbanu, also issued a warrant for the arrest of an accomplice, Fataw Mahmud, who is on the run.

Four counts

Yakubu was first charged with conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, stealing, second count, stealing and the third count to conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, causing unlawful damage. The fourth count was causing unlawful damage.

Prosecuting, Chief Inspector Musa Hamidu Bauchi, told the court that the convict, his mate and another accomplice who is now on the run, conspired to set ablaze a diesel tanker in a bush near Osino in the Eastern Region, after they had emptied and sold its 54,000-litre diesel load.

Diesel’s worth

The tanker, with GH¢280,260 worth of diesel from Fuel Trade in Tema, was headed for Yendi in the Northern Region but was diverted and its content sold in Accra, after which the convict drove the empty tanker to Osino, where they set it ablaze.

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The police after investigations, managed to arrest Yakubu, the driver of the tanker and his mate, Boadi, but the accomplice, Mahmud, a former driver of the tanker owner and said to be the mastermind of the plan, managed to escape.

According to the prosecutor, the complainant in the case is an Accra businessman and transporter who deals in petroleum products.

He said some time last year, the complainant gave his DAF CF 460 truck, with registration number, GS 264-14, to Awudu to drive and also engaged Boadi as his mate.

Chief Inspector Bauchi said since then the two suspects had been loading petroleum products for supply to a number of customers in different parts of the country.

He said, however, that on June 24, 2019, the convict and his mate took the tanker, loaded with 54,000 litres of diesel valued at GH¢280,260, from Fuel Trade in Tema for supply to a customer in Yendi.

They left Tema in the night and met the complainant at the Community 18 Junction on the Accra-Tema Motorway, where he gave them GH¢2,400 as their per diem to Yendi and back.

A day later, the driver called to report the incident to his boss and also to the police.


Sale of fuel

The investigator said, the police found out later that the convict set off on the journey to Yendi, but on reaching the Accra end of the motorway, he claimed to have ran short of fuel and so Yakubu parked the vehicle on the shoulders of the road and sent the mate to go and buy fuel.

While Yakubu was waiting for the mate, Mohammed, the complainant’s former driver, met Yakubu and together they hatched a plan to sell the fuel and burn the tanker.

The three took the fuel back to Tema, where they sold it to one Nana Yaw, and later drove the empty tanker to the Unity Oil Filling Station at Achimota in Accra and bought 75 litres of petrol which they put into gallons and set off on the journey with the tanker now empty.

They drove to a spot between Osino and Anyinam in the Eastern Region, where they feigned an accident by landing the tanker in a ditch because it was being driven at top speed.

He said the suspects poured the petrol that they had bought at Achimota on the head of the tanker and set it ablaze.

Source: Daily Graphic

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