Judge urges strong stance against illegal mining

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An Accra Circuit Court hearing the case of En Huang, aka Aisha Huang, said to be an illegal miner, and three others, has turned down bail application put in by their lawyers.

The court presided over by Mr Samuel Bright Acquah declined bail on the grounds that Aisha Huang’s re-entry into Ghana remains unclear.

According to the trial judge, the activities of illegal miners were destroying the environment, people, and the habitat of wildlife.

“Watching the activities of illegal miners on Television speaks volumes of how our forests are being destroyed. Everyone is complaining..,” he said, adding that: “We need to take a strong stance on these activities.”

Captain Nkrabeah Effah Darteh Rtd., the defence counsel for Aisha repeated his application for bail, saying his client had been in custody for the past one month.

“I pray that four weeks in custody is on the high side, admit the accused persons to bail, this case is about mother, daughter and two other gentlemen,” he stressed.

According to Captain Effah Darteh Rtd., the absence of the substantive prosecutor in court showed that the State was not ready to commence trial, adding that the prosecution’s representative was in court only to take a date.

He further prayed the court to diffuse impressions that the accused persons were foreigners and, therefore, could not be granted bail.

Capt. Rtd Nkrabeah Effah Darteh recounted how difficult it was for him and others to have access to their clients who were in the custody of the National Investigations Bureau (NIB).

“Going to the NIB is like touching a virgin’s hole. It is very difficult. That is not the aim of the law,” he said and stressed that if the accused persons were granted bail, they were ready to abide by the bail conditions.

Mr Frank Kumakoh, another lawyer in the case, also prayed for the court to look at the facts of the case, saying there were a lot of inconsistencies in them.

According to Mr Kumakoh, the accused persons were victims of circumstance, and that the court of public opinion had taken over the matter and asked the court for bail so they could put up their defence.

He argued that the accused persons were not arrested with exhibits or found on mining sites.

Police Inspector Isaac Babayi, who represented Chief Inspector Frederick Sarpong, opposed the grant of bail, saying investigations were ongoing and that the prosecution would soon inform the court about the progress of investigations.

Inspector Babayi said the accused persons entered the country illegally, adding they had no fixed place of abode and were not in gainful employment.

Aisha, aka Ruixia Huang, is standing trial for allegedly engaging in mining without a license.

She is standing trial with three others for allegedly engaging in the sale and purchase of minerals without a license.

They have denied the charges.

Aisha’s accomplices are Huang Jei, the daughter of Aisha, John Li Hua and Huaid Hai Hun.

Ghana’s Attorney General has put Aisha and four others before an Accra High Court recently for similar activities in the year 2017.

The facts of the prosecution before the Circuit Court are that Aisha and her three accomplices are Chinese nationals who had gained notoriety in engaging in series of small-scale mining activities across the country.

The prosecution said during the year 2017, Aisha was arrested for similar offences but managed to sneak out of the country in 2018.

According to the prosecution, early this year, Aisha sneaked back into the country after having changed her details on her Chinese Passport.

It said Aisha again allegedly resumed small -scale mining activities without a license and together with the accused persons, engaged in the sale and purchases of minerals in Accra without validity and authority granted as required by the Minerals Act.

It said Hua, Jei and Hun were also into the sale of equipment used in illegal mining activities.

Based on intelligence, the prosecution said the accused persons were arrested.

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