Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Confusion Over Chinese Galamsey Court Case

2:42:00 PM

There was confusion at the Sekondi high court yesterday when the five Chinese nationals and their Ghanaian counterparts who are standing trial for allegedly mining gold in the River Ankobra at Bamiankor in the Western Region, appeared before the court.

The Chinese are Dong Cheng, unemployed; Huang Jiang, engineer; Nin Guorui, welder; Yin Bi Qiang, spare parts dealer and Li Zilong, cook; while their Ghanaian counterparts are Eric Owusu, carpenter; Kwabena Adjei, small scale miner; Nana Adu Ackah Mensah, farmer; Kwesi Owusu, unemployed and Kofi Darko, driver.

The confusion began when the case was called and the lawyers for the accused persons were introducing themselves and indicating which of them they represented.

Prior to yesterdays proceedings, the 10 accused persons, who are currently on bail, had been represented by two counsels â€" Samuel Ericson Abekah and Stephen Alawaba.

However, when the case was called yesterday, lawyer Stephen Alawaba was absent, and Samuel Ericson Abekah told the court that he was representing one of the Ghanaian accused persons, Nana Adu Ackah Mensah.

A new lawyer in the case, Constantine Kudzedzi, also informed the court that he was representing the five Chinese.

This prompted the presiding judge, Justice Edward Amoako, to enquire from the rest of the Ghanaian accused persons the whereabouts of their counsel.

The four, who concept they were also being represented by the counsel for the Chinese, became confused at the turn of events and did not know what to say.

The judge then told them (Ghanaians), who were purportedly employed by the Chinese in their alleged galamsey (illegal mining) operations, that he was giving them about a week to engage a lawyer for the next sitting.

The prosecutor in the case, George Sackey â€" a senior state attorney â€" told the court that some witnesses in the case were present to testify but the judge pointed out that the four Ghanaians have the right to engage a lawyer.

He then adjourned the case to Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Speaking to DAILY GUIDE after the brief proceedings, counsel for the five Chinese, Constantine Kudzedzi, indicated that initially, his clients were represented by a definite lawyer but they decided to change their counsel.

The four Ghanaians idea the new lawyer will represent them but the new lawyer was engaged to represent some and not all the accused persons. I dont know why the rest were not included.

The four have the right to engage a lawyer so if they want me to represent them, fine. Now I need to be abreast with the proceedings so far, he stated.

The suspected galamsayers were arrested by the police in the Western Region on March 24, 2017 for allegedly mining gold illegally in River Ankobra.

Eight charges have been preferred against them. They are conspiracy to commit offence and undertaking small scale mining without license contrary to Section 99(2) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, causing intentional and unlawful harm and damage to property, causing unlawful damage intentionally and unlawfully to property in a manner likely to cause danger to life.

They have also been charged with pollution of water contrary to Section 24 of the Water Resources Commission Act, 1996.

The other charges are engaging in mining activity using methods not known or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), disregarding a directive and obligation imposed under the Immigration Act and also making untrue representation contrary to Section 23(1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960.

All the ten persons have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

By Ghana Leaks Blog

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