‘I Stole To Survive’

A 35 year-old labourer, Charles Abatsi who claimed he sold his employer’s form works (wooden moulds used in building culverts) to “waakye” (rice and beans) sellers in order to survive five months of excruciating hunger, has been arraigned before court, charged with stealing. Abatsi told the Amasaman magistrate court on Tuesday that, he has also not been paid for five months by his contractor employer, Mr. Yaw Ofosu Agyemang. He earlier pleaded not guilty to the charge and the presiding judge Mrs. Cecilia Abruquah granted him a GH¢6000 bail with a surety. Abatsi’s employer had however disputed his assertion, and told the court that, he did not owe Abatsi anything, neither did he authorize him to sell the wooden moulds, valued at GH¢3,200. Three middle aged women Esther Amanor, Victoria Quarshie, and Mama Abrewa, all Waakye sellers, who were also charged with dishonestly buying the wooden moulds, were acquitted and discharged by the court. The court ruled that, at the time of buying the wooden planks, for GH¢35, GH¢8, and GH¢35 respectively to be used as firewood, the three women did not know that they were stolen items. The court was told by the prosecutor, Chief Inspector Kate Ogyiri that, Abatsi was working as a labourer with the complainant, a contractor working on the drains near Amasaman Sports Stadium. She said the contractor, Mr. Yaw Agymang fell ill and left for Sefwi Wiawso in September, but upon his return, he realized that Abatsi had stolen 20 pieces of the moulds. The prosecutor said the matter was reported to the police, leading to the arrest of Abatsi and subsequently disclosing the three women he sold the mould to. The three women were represented by Mr. Apanga Abudu.