Four accomplices of Aisha Huang, being charged with alleged illegal mining, were yesterday remanded by an Accra High Court in National Investigations Bureau (NIB) custody.
They are Shi Yang, Li Wei Guo, Shi Mei Zhi, all Chinese, and Ngu Yen Thi Thianh Tuyen, a Vietnamese.
The three Chinese have been charged with illegal mining while the Vietnamese faces the charge of remaining in the country after expiration of her permit.
The charge of the three Chinese was read and explained to them in their language, and they pleaded not guilty, but the plea of the Vietnamese was postponed due to the absence of a Vietnamese interpreter.
Consequently, presiding judge, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, ordered the registrar to ensure that a Vietnamese language interpreter was present at the next hearing for accused plea to be taken.
Defense counsel, Ekeleba Blay, held brief for Freddie Blay, and application for bail was refused by the court.
Justice Osei Marfo in her ruling said accused were allegedly engaged in illegal mining, which had become a national concern.
She added that accused were foreigners, who do not have any financial or social ties within the jurisdiction and whose certainty to stand trial if admitted to bail was not guaranteed.
Justice Osei Marfo subsequently fixed the next hearing date for November 1, this year, and ordered prosecution to furnish the defence with the full disclosures before the next hearing.
According to the facts presented to the court by Attorney General (A-G), Godfred Yeboah Dame, a team of personnel from the Ministry of National Security, Accra, upon receipt of intelligence arrested accused on September 14, this year.
He told the court that accused were seized at their residence at Paraku Estates near Daban, Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region.
According to the A-G, this was after preliminary investigations revealed that the four accused were involved in prohibited mining transactions with En Huang a.k.a Aisha Huang and other Chinese nationals at mining sites in the Obuasi municipality.
Mr Dame said that a search conducted at the residence of accused in Kumasi revealed five payment receipts of purchase of mining concessions.
“In addition, it was disclosed that the accused persons together with others use WeChat, a social media platform, for all correspondences in relation to their illegal mining activities,” he said.
According to the A-G, investigations revealed that a Vietnamese, Ngu Yen Thi ,was issued an extension of permit on May 9, this year, to remain in Ghana until August 8, this year, but at the time of her arrest, the permit had expired.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO