Chinese businesswoman, En Huang, alias Aisha Huang, who is at the centre of alleged illegal mining activities was yesterday remanded into police custody by an Accra Circuit Court together with three other accused.
Ms Huang, who has earned the moniker as the illegal mining “Galamsey Queen’ has been charged with the sale and purchase of minerals without licence and mining without licence.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The other three, Jong Li Hua, Huang Jei, Huiad Hiahun, all Chinese, are also facing the charge of sale and purchase of minerals without licence.
They have all denied any wrong doing.
Counsel for three of the accused, Huang, Jeiand Hiahun, Mr Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, prayed the court presided over by Mr Samuel Bright Acquah to grant his clients bail as they were innocent until proven guilty.
Mr Effah-Dartey, who was also counsel for Ms Huang, in 2018, added that there was no evidence Ms Huang was to be deported in the previous case in 2018 or declared persona non-grata, but rather they were ready to open their defense only for the state to file a nolleprosequi to discontinue the case.
He pointed to the media for blowing the case beyond proportion and indicated that his clients were ready with surety for bail.
Counsel for Ms Hua, Franklin Kumakoh, argued that she was a victim of circumstances as she had gone to visit her male friends when she was rounded up by the National Security team on its operation.
He added that her client was being victimised for being a Chinese and called for equal application of the law on all occasions.
Opposing the bail application, Detective Chief Inspector Frederick Sarpong, who represented the prosecution, said it was important the court ordered for accused to be remanded in custody as they had made new arrests in connection with the case and needed the accused to assist in investigations.
The court granted the prosecution’s request and remanded all four accused in police custody to reappear on September 27.
However, in a near tragic moment one of the accused, Jong Li Hua, collapsed and was rushed out of the courtroom to receive medical attention.
Ms Huang appeared in court in a peach-colored sweater over blue jeans with heavy police escort and cautiously hid away from the cameras.
It was her second time in court as she first appeared on September 2,and her plea was not taken due to the unavailability of a Chinese interpreter.
The other three accused persons were arraigned three days later with their pleas taken.
According to prosecution led by Detective Chief Inspector Frederick Sarpong, Ms Huang had previously escaped prosecution in Accra when she was arrested.
The prosecution said she returned to China and changed her identity only to return to Ghana to commit the same crime for which she escaped punishment.
Chief Insp Sarpong revealed that she applied for a Togolese visa and entered Ghana through its border with Togo and returned to the ‘Galamsey’ business in a town in the Ashanti Region.
The three others, according to the prosecution sold mining equipment and traded in gold without a valid license.
Ms Huang first came into the spotlight in December 2018, when she was deported, after state prosecutors filed a nolleprosequi to abort the trial where she was being tried for alleged illegal mining related offences.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO