The Office of the Attorney General has pressed fresh charges against three Chinese nationals who are alleged to be accomplices of Galamsey Queen Aisha Huang, while a Vietnamese in the case has been provisionally discharged.
Shi Yang, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi, all Chinese nationals were before the court on a charge of engaging in small-scale mining without a licence, while Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, a Vietnamese, was charged for remaining in Ghana after the expiration of her permit.
Shi Yang, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi, have now been charged with two counts of undertaking a mining operation without a licence and possessing a forged document contrary to sections 166 and 159(b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960, Act 29, while Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen was discharged.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, told the court that the charge against Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, are mainly immigration charges and she will therefore, be tried separately.
Court documents indicate that all the three had resident permits in their passports, but investigations have revealed that the resident permits were not issued by the Ghana Immigration Service.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges, and their lawyer, Lucy Ekeleba Blay, indicated that she had filed an application for bail on behalf of the accused persons pending the trial.
The court, presided over by Lydia Osei Marfo, remanded the accused persons into prison custody, indicating that they are foreigners who have been charged with what she described as “grave offences” who do not have sufficient social and financial ties in Ghana.
“If they are granted bail, they are likely not going to return for their trial. It is in the interest of justice that they are kept in prison custody pending the outcome of their trial,” she added.
Justice Marfo ordered the prosecution to file their disclosures and serve the accused persons or their counsel on or before December 14, 2022.
The facts of the case, presented by Mrs. Atakora Obuobisa, indicate that the accused were arrested at their residence at Paraku Estates near Daaban, Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region after personnel from the National Security received information that the accused persons were dealing in gold.
“A search conducted at their Paraku Estates residence produced five payment receipts with a total face value of GH¢285,000 issued by 5th Hour Company Limited to Li Wei Guo. The receipts showed that the amount paid was for the purchase of mining concessions, farmlands, groundwork, and transfer of concessions,” the DPP read.
She said Li Wei Guo and his partner, Shi Mei Zhi who were involved in this transaction were not able to mine, and at the time of their arrest, had reported Kofi Anokye of 5th Hour to the Akwatia Police for refund of the GH¢285,000, and GH¢110,000 had been paid to Li Wei Guo.
She said Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi were found to have mined at Nwinso near Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region in 2017.
“The first accused (Li Wei Guo) was found to be the Director of ShimaBen Ghana Limited, a company which took over En Huang’s Golden Asia Supermarket after her repatriation. Investigators found two metal safes which contained money in several denominations, 19 small containers of mercury in the warehouse of the ShimaBen Company as well as excavator parts and industrial oil,” Mrs. Obuobisa further told the court.
She added that “all three accused persons had residence permits in their passports, but Ghana Immigration Service has found that they did not issue them.”
BY Gibril Abdul Razak