5 Chinese, 5 Ghanaians to open defence over charge of illegal mining

The Sekondi High Court,  has ruled that five Chinese  and  five Ghanaians, charged for illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey; on  River Ankobra at Bamiankor,  in the Nzema East District of the Western Region, should open their defence.

Giving the ruling last Monday, the Presiding Judge, Justice Edward Amoako-Asante, said the accused had questions to answer on four counts on mining and pollution.

The judge, however, noted that, the prosecution failed to provide evidence on four other counts of causing intentional and unlawful harm and damage to property and engaging in mining activity unknown to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and disregarding the Immigration Act.

In August, Mr. Constantine Kudzedzi, counsel for the five Chinese and five Ghanaians, argued that   the case should be struck out due to lack of evidence.

He said, “It is my contention that the prosecution failed to do proper investigations to prove that, indeed, the accused persons were conducting illegal mining on River Ankobra on March 24. It has failed to prove the guilt of the accused of the 10 charges.”

Mr. Kudzedzi said  there was  no evidence to show that the accused had been cautioned in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Act), saying  that the court had not been told what method his clients used  in mining  on River Ankobra on March  24.

He indicated that “the intention of mining has not been proved. We should identify whether they have been licensed or not. The fact that the river is brown does not mean anything. That the water is brown somebody should be convicted”.

Mr. Samuel Ericson Abakah, counsel for third accused, Nana Adu Ackah, also agreed with the submissions of Kudjedzi.

Responding, the Senior State Attorney, Mr. George Sackey, told the court that the accused were conducting illegal mining activities on River Ankobra at Bamianko, on March 24.

He stated that “the prosecution had satisfied the condition in the statement of offences.

“The offences are punishable by law. We have reasonable information given and charges preferred against the accused beyond all doubts and should be punished as deterrence.”

Five  Chinese- Dong Cheng ,unemployed, 30; Hung Jian, engineer, 51; Ning Guorui, welder, 42; Yin Bi Quiang, spare parts dealer, 46 and Li Zilong, cook/farmer, 40, were  granted a self- congnisance bail  and ordered  to deposit their passports  to  the court.

The five Ghanaian collaborators, Eric Owusu, carpenter, 28, Kwabena Adjei, small scale  miner, 50, Nana Adu Ackah Mensah, farmer, 42, Kwasi Owusu, unemployed, 28, and Kofi Darko, driver, 21, were also  granted bail in the sum of GH¢100,000 each , with one surety to be justified.

They  pleaded not guilty   to  charges of   conspiracy to  conduct  illegal mining   on River Ankobra and  also undertaking small scale mining operations without licence contrary to section  23 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29 and section 99 (2) of the Minerals and Mining Act, Act,2006 Act 703,  as amended in Act 900 of 2015.

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, SEKONDI

 

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