Four foreign ‘galamseyers’ granted bail

GalamseyAll the four foreign illegal miners, who have been in police custody in Accra for the past three weeks, were finally granted GH¢2,000,000.00 bail each by the Accra Circuit Court “One” yesterday.

As part of their bail condition, the court further ordered them to get Ghanaians of substance and also of good character to stand surety for them.

The judge, Mr. Aboagye Tandoh told the accused to deposit their Passports with the Registrar and until otherwise directed, report to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) every two weeks, and adjourned the case to July 11, 2017.

Messrs Farid Isaev, Vadim Pokokin, Serthii chepurniy (all engineers) and Genadiy Rubec, a site manager, from Russia and Ukraine respectively were arrested by the police at Manso-Tontokrom in the Amansie District of the Ashanti Region in May 22, 2017, for engaging in illegal mining even though the Government had placed a ban on all small-scale mining activities as well as illegal mining until further notice.

The accused defied the orders and engaged in an illegality thus falling foul of section 23 (1) and section 99 (2) (a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 Act 703 ie undertaking Small-Scale Mining without Licence.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit crime and mining without licence, and their lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel K. Darko in May 31, 2017, applied for bail for them.

“It is the sole prerogative of the court to exercise the discretion to bail or otherwise and given the circumstance of this case, the court is inclined to grant bail to the accused,” Mr. Tandoh said.

The facts already presented by the prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) C.K. Abadamlora were that, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu recently gave an ultimatum to all Small-Scale Mining companies and illegal miners Known in the local parlance as “galamseyers” to stop their operations because the Government was on the verge of regulating their activities to ensure adequate protection of the forests and water bodies in the country.

He said that whilst on their fact finding mission, the minister and his entourage met the accused at Manso-Tontokrom in the Ashanti Region busily mining without lawful authority using heavy equipment and degrading a vast land resulting in the destruction of farm crops and cocoa farms of the inhabitants and as well polluting their source of drinking water.

According to the prosecutor, when the foreigners were accosted with regard to their illegal mining in the area, they said that they were employees of Geo Professional Services (GPS), a mining company.

The case has been adjourned to July 11, 2017.

By Castro Zangina-Tong

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