Ghanaian, Chinese ‘galamseyers’ case adjourned again

The Sekondi High Court has adjourned the case involving five Ghanaians and five Chinese, charged for illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey,’ in River Ankobra, at Bamianko, in the Western Region, to Wednesday May, 24.

This is because four of the Ghanaian suspects, do not have legal counsel.

The four, Eric Owusu, carpenter, 28, Kwabena Adjei, small scale miner, 50, Kwasi Owusu, unemployed, 28, and Kofi Darko, driver, 21, could not tell the court why they had no legal representation.

Stephen Alewabah, was representing them and their  Chinese counterparts, Dong Cheng, unemployed, 30, Hung Jian, engineer, 51, Ning Guorui, welder, 42,Yin Bi Quiang, spare parts dealer, 46, Li Zilong, cook/farmer, 44,  but he was not in court yesterday.

A new counsel, Constantine Kudzedzi, told the court that Mr. Alewabah had asked him to represent the five Chinese, and could not hold brief for the four Ghanaians.

The third accused Ghanaian, Nana Adu Darko Mensah, however, was being represented by Lawyer Ericson Abekah.

The judge, Justice Edward Amoako Asante asked that the four accused Ghanaians to decide whether they would continue with the services of Mr Alewabah or Kudzedzi, before the next adjournment date, Wednesday, May 24.

On May 3, the court granted bail to the five Chinese and five Ghanaians, who were arrested in March, this year, by the Western Regional Police Command, in the Bamianko corridor of Nzema East municipality of the Western Region for illegal mining.

The Chinese were granted a self- congnisance bail and also ordered to deposit their passports to the court.

Additionally, it ordered that the photographs and finger prints of the Chinese should be taken.

The five Ghanaians were granted bail to the sum of GHc100,000 each, with one surety to be justified.

They pleaded not guilty to causing intentional and unlawful damage to property in a manner likely to cause danger to life, pollution of water.

Meanwhile, the five Chinese had also been charged   for   disregarding a directive and obligation  imposed  under the  Immigration Act.

Detective Inspector Musah Seidu, a  police  photographer, led  by the  prosecutor , Senior State Attorney George Sackey, testified  that in the early part  of March 2017, the Regional Crime Office, in Sekondi, had a tip – off that some Ghanaians and Asians had invaded  the bank of River Ankobra and were engaging in illegal  mining on the river bed.

Showing pictures to the court to highlight the boat used by the accused and their activities, Detective Inspector Musah refuted submissions by Counsel Alewabah that the pictures were not original, insisting: “ I personally  took the  photographs.”

Justice Asante told the prosecution to ensure that other witnesses were available for court at the next sitting, to facilitate the trial.

Meanwhile, the court had ordered seizure of the boat used by the accused on River Ankobra for their operations.

From Clement Adzei Boye, Sekondi





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