The Attorney General, Godfred Dame, on Tuesday, told an Accra High Court that, the state has evidence to prove that some four foreigners charged as accomplices of galamsey kingpin, Aisha Huang were indeed engaged in illegal mining activities.
The Attorney General, during proceedings on October 11, 2022, told the court that the evidence gathered by the state against the suspects include five receipts issued to the foreign nationals as proof of purchase of small-scale mining sites.
According to the Attorney General, the suspects were engaged in criminality as the laws of Ghana bar foreigners from engaging in small-scale mining.
The four suspects are made up of three Chinese nationals; Shi Yang alias Philip, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi, as well as a Vietnamese national, identified as Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen.
They are all facing a provisional charge of engaging in small scale-mining without a licence, contrary to section 99(2)(a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) as amended by Act 995 of 2019.
However, the Vietnamese national is facing a separate charge for remaining in Ghana after the expiration of a permit contrary to sections 20(1) and 52(1)(d) of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
The three Chinese nationals have all pleaded not guilty to their charge while the court was compelled to defer the plea of the fourth suspect due to the absence of an interpreter.
Responding to the prosecution’s evidence against the suspects, their lawyer, Lucie Ekelebe Blay who was holding brief for Freddie Blay challenged the substance of the receipt.
According to the lawyer for the accused persons, the supposed purchase of mining sites by her clients did not materialise as they were duped in the process.
Her argument nonetheless was deemed as enough grounds to prove the prosecution’s case according to the Attorney General as quoted in Ghanaweb.com report.
In his response to the defence lawyer, Godfred Yeboah Dame maintained that the suspects breached the law by their attempt to own a mining concession as the law prohibits foreigners from engaging in small scale mining.
The court, citing various factors such as the nature of the alleged offence committed by the suspects, their flight risk possibility and the severity of punishment if they are found guilty, denied the four bail till the end of their trial.
The case against the four has been adjourned to Tuesday, November 1, 2022.
The state’s case against alleged galamsey kingpin Aisha Huang was called after that of her alleged accomplices was adjourned.
Presiding Judge Lydia Osei Marfo, during a sitting on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, refused the plea of her lawyer, Nkrabea Effah Dartey, after the latter argued that his client deserved bail.
According to the judge, all arguments previously made against his plea for bail, including his client’s flight risk, remain and will not be changed.
She added that his constant presence in court with his client would be the only way to ensure the case is heard accordingly for the determination of his client’s fate.
State Prosecutor Godfred Dame, on his part, reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring the case is duly heard and that the accused are prosecuted if found guilty.
Aisha Huang is in court over charges of mining without a license and engaging in the sale and purchase of minerals, four other charges, including undertaking a mining operation without a license.
She is also facing four other charges, including undertaking a mining operation without a license, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, illegal employment of foreign nationals, and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry were filed at the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court on Friday, September 16, 2022.
Her case has since been adjourned to October 24, 2022, for case management.