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Galamsey case: 3 Aisha Huang’s accomplices trial begins next month

The Criminal Division of the High Court in Accra has fixed June 6, 2023, to commence the trial in which three persons said to be accomplices of Aisha Huang have been arraigned for allegedly engaging in the illegal activities in the country.

The Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo fixed the date after prosecution filed all the necessary documents and pre-trial processes completed by the parties.

The accused persons are: Li We Guo, Shi Mei Zhi both Chinese and Nana Kwame Opoku, alias Obolo, a Ghanaian have been charged together for conspiracy to undertake mining without license.

Whilst Li Wei Guo (1st Accused) and Shi Mei Zhi, (2nd Accused) who are partners, are facing a charge of undertaking mining operation without license and false representation in obtaining resident permit.

Li Wei Guo, the 1st Accused is also facing the charge of false representation in obtaining a work permit.

Nana Kwame Opoku alias Obolo is separately charged for facilitating the participation of non-Ghanaians in an illegal mining operation.

The two Chinese nationals and the Ghanaian have all three pleaded not guilty.

According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, the two Chinese are on remand at the Nsawam Prison whilst the 3rd Accused, a Ghanaian, is on bail in the sum of GHc500k with two sureties.

Following a request from Defence lawyer Lucy Ekeleba Blay, holding brief for Freddie Blay, the Court has ordered the authorities at Nsawam Prison to furnish them with the medical records of the 2nd Accused person.

Brief facts

The brief facts of the case as narrated to the court by Mercy Arthur, a Principal State Attorney, were that on September 14, 2022, as part of investigations into the case of En Huang @ Aisha, personnel of the Ministry of National Security, Kumasi, received information that the 1st and 2nd accused persons were engaged in illegal mining activities.

The National Security, she said, commenced investigations and as a result, these Officers arrested the 1st and 2nd accused persons together with another Chinese national and a Vietnamese national, from their residence at Paraku Estates near Daaban, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region and commenced investigations.

According to her, the 1st and 2nd accused persons are lovers and investigations conducted established that between 2017 and 2018, they contacted the 3rd accused person and subsequently went to meet him at Nkawkaw.

Purpose of meeting

Mercy Arthur said, the purpose of the meeting was for the 3rd Accused to procure land for the 1st and 2nd accused persons to undertake mining operations and that upon receipt of the request of the 1st and 2nd accused persons, the 3rd accused person
approached some farmers at Nwinso in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region some of whom were old and frail and requested to buy their farmlands located at a suburb of Nwinso called Dunkwa for mining purposes.

The Principal State Attorney told the court that the farmers agreed to the 3rd accused persons request and they were paid GHc7,000 per acre for their farms which had food crops.

She said the 3rd accused informed the acting Chief of Nwinso about the deal he had secured with the farmers and the chief summoned the farmers and sought confirmation from them.

According to her the 3rd accused subsequently took the 1st and 2nd accused to the palace to meet the acting Chief and introduced them to him and his elders as the people who were coming to mine on the farmlands he earlier procured from the farmers in the community.

The Principal State Attorney said the 3rd accused again assisted the 1st and 2nd accused persons to rent a house at Nwinso where the 1st and 2nd accused lived and conducted their mining operations till they completed after about one year.

Negotiation

“For facilitating the mining operations of the 1st and 2nd Accused persons, the 3rd Accused negotiated with the 1st and 2nd accused for a weekly fee of GHs30,000.00
which was paid by the 1st and 2nd accused persons every week for the period they mined at Dunkwa Nwinso.

“The 3rd accused person sometimes went for his weekly fees from a Supermarket located near the Melcom shop in Ahodwo, Kumasi which is connected to the 1st
and 2nd accused persons,” The Principal State Attorney told the Court.

She added: “Enquiries conducted by the investigation team at the Minerals Commission indicated that none of the three accused persons had been granted licence to mine.”

GS permit

Mercy Arthur said, the 1st and 2nd accused had Residence Permits issued by the Ghana Immigration Service in their Chinese passports.

“The 1st accused permitis that of a Principal Permit holder and that of the 2nd accused person is a Dependant Residence Permit.

The 1st Accused person was first issued with a working permit having supported his application with documents indicating he was an employee of Vipon Impression Limited.

“As a result of this representation, he obtained a Residence Permit to enable him to work in Ghana.

The 2nd accused person was introduced to GIS in the application for Residence Permit as the wife of the 1st accused and as a result, she obtained a Dependent Residence Permit,” she noted.

“When the processes leading to the grant of the permits were interrogated however, it was found that the company profile of VIP on Impression Company Limited which the 1st accused person used as proof of his employment was inconsistent with the company’s profile at the Office of the Registrar of Companies.

Invalid marriage

With regards to the 1st and 2nd Accused being married, the 2nd Accused person said she had two husbands, one in China with whom she has two children and a husband in Ghana in the person of the 1st Accused person.,” she stated.

“She explained that they married in 2014 in Ghana however, the marriage certificate they used in support of the Residence Permit application was a Chinese marriage certificate which indicated that the marriage was registered on May 9, 2012.

“Consequently, there was no valid marriage relationship between the 1st and 2nd accused persons to form the basis of the Dependant Residence Permit issued to the 2nd accused person.

“The forged Vipon company profile could also not form the basis of the valid Work and Residence Permit issued to the 1st accused by the Ghana Immigration Service,” the Principal State Attorney noted.

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