Thieves steal 50km railway tracks, an estimated $250m lost
Thieves have stolen nearly 50 kilometers of railway track, nationwide, causing an estimated amount of $250 million of damage to the country.
A kilometre of railway construction is estimated at $5million.
Chunks of track were stolen over the course of several months from lines from Ejisu, Konongo, Juaso, Obuasi-Dunkwa-Prestea, Akrokeri, Kaasi, Asafo, Asawase.
At least 10 suspects, so far, have appeared in the courts at Ejisu and Juaso following their arrest by the police and the metals (track and steel sleepers) retrieved from them. Out Of the 10, four have been jailed four years each.
The remaining three suspects have been identified as Kwadwo Gyamfi, Daniel Appiah, Baffour Samuel, who are in custody of the Juaso Police, pending prosecution.
These came to light during an inspection by the Deputy Minister of Railway Development, Kwaku Asante-Boateng.
The thieves, it was revealed cut the rail, about 40 feet, into pieces with specialized machines and cart them during the night, to sell to scrap dealers.
Mr Asante-Boateng, also Member of Parliament (MP) for Asante Akyem South in Ashanti, believed a syndicate was behind the stealing of the metals and asked the media to help in sounding cautious to the general public to put an end to the canker.
“If we are to fix the country, there is the need to fix our attitude first, what is going on is just appalling, there should be an end to this,” he lamented.
He admitted that for the past 20 years no train had been seen on the railway leading to the industry going down and the government trying to revive it.
The Deputy Minister said government had developed a master plan to bring back the railway system and had awarded a contract to David Walter Company to start a new line from Kejetia to Kaasi and another contract to continue to Obuasi.
In the Western Region, he said the government had started a new line from Sekondi-Takoradi and “now almost at Tarkwa, but this is not to say that the old track is not good, because we can still use them”.
“We are borrowing money to finance these projects and now, look at the situation we find ourselves in,” he questioned.
The MP reiterated his call on the media to sensitise the public on the happenings to ensure the development became a thing of the past, stressing “we want to put an end to it”.
He, therefore, appealed to the public to report anyone seen weeding along the railway lines to the police saying “most of such people are thieves, as they hide the cut metals in the bush” and cart them away in the night.