Four top management staff of Vodafone Company Limited were sentenced to a total of 21 years imprisonment by an Accra Circuit Court yesterday, for stealing 1,280 metres of cable, worth GH¢268,800 belonging to the company.
They were Frank Lemdi Prikutse, team manager; Alex Duker, senior customer engineer; Emmanuel Achiayao and Robert Appiah-Mends, both field engineers.
They pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to steal, but the court found them guilty and convicted them, accordingly.
The presiding judge, Justice Francis Obiri, a High Court Judge, sitting with additional responsibilities, acquitted and discharged the fifth accused, Samuel Mensah, a field engineer, on the premise that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Passing the sentence, Justice Obiri expressed surprise at the conduct of the officials, saying, “they should know better”.
Such acts of illegality, he said, resulted in the loss of substantial revenue to the company, which might be passed on to consumers.
A bail application by their counsel in 2014 was rejected by the court and they were subsequently asked to open their defence.
Prosecuting then, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Patrick A. Morkeh (now deceased), told the court that on April 1, 2014, Eva Antwi, the Regional Operations Manager, detailed Prikutse to recover 220 metres of the Vodafone redundant underground 1,000mm FF cables from the Teshie-Nungua Exchange for use in repair works at the Achimota Exchange.
On April 2, the Corporate Security Department of Vodafone received intelligence that the recovered cables were in excess of 1,280 metres, valued at GH¢268,800, and had been sold to a scrap dealer at Ashaiman.
DSP Morkeh said Prikutse was confronted to account for the excess cables, but he denied knowledge of them.
He said the accused were arrested and handed over to the Airport Police for investigation, adding that efforts were being made to arrest the scrap dealer.
By Malik Sullemana