Bawa Yussif, who operates fast food joints in Adidome and Aveyime, claimed that he purchased some bags of rice from customers who turned out to be selling stolen items.
According to Bawa, a group of drug addicts approached him and offered to sell 20 bags of rice, originally priced at GHC170, at a discounted rate of GHC100 each. He agreed to the deal and paid a total of GHC2,000 for the rice.
In an interview with Crime Check Foundation, Bawa explained that he later heard an announcement through an information center about a woman who had her bags of rice stolen.
Concerned, he contacted his business friend through an intermediary to inform her about the rice he had purchased. Initially, she was grateful for his honesty and agreed to take back 10 of the bags.
However, to Bawa’s surprise, she returned to his house accompanied by her husband and a police officer who arrested him for the theft. Despite several court appearances, Bawa said that during one hearing, his friend requested the judge to drop the case since the stolen items had been recovered. Unfortunately, the judge refused her plea.
“My friend asked the Adidome Circuit Court judge to dismiss the case and forgive me since she had retrieved the items. She confessed that she was pressured by her husband to pursue the matter in court. The judge silenced her, stating that she couldn’t come and waste the court’s time,” Bawa recounted.
“The judge then sentenced me to five years, and I broke down in tears,” he added.
The additional two years were added to Bawa’s sentence due to an outburst he launched at the judge. Feeling shocked and upset, he blurted out, “I told the judge that God will punish you if you insist on sending me to jail after my own close friend asked you not to. I had never known about prison; all I knew was the police station. Everyone in the courtroom was in tears because they knew I wasn’t a bad person. The judge then retaliated, saying that he had the power to add extra years to my sentence,” Bawa explained.
The judge, according to Bawa, has since been dismissed from the judicial service.
Reflecting on his prison experience, Bawa acknowledged its difficulties but expressed hope in returning to his passion for cooking and selling food once he is released.
Watch the interview below: