The office of the Attorney-General (A-G) has substituted the charges it brought against some three Chinese nationals being tried in a Ghanaian court for illegal mining and immigration-related offences.
In the substituted charge sheet, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi had been accused of undertaking a mining operation without a licence, contrary to section 99(2)(a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) as amended by Act 995 of 2019.
Li Wei Guo, Shi Mei Zhi and Shi Yang @ Philip are facing possessing a forged document contrary to sections 166 and 159(b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960, Act 29.
The accused persons have pleaded not guilty to the charges when hauled before an Accra Criminal High Court, presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, on Monday.
Justice Marfo denied the accused persons bail on the grounds that they had no financial and family ties in the country, and that the probability that they would take flight was high.
Their offences were read out to the court by the Principal State Attorney (PSA), Mercy Arthur.
According to her, on September 14, 2022, as part of investigations into the case of En Huang aka Aisha Huang, personnel of the Ministry of National Security in Kumasi received information that the accused persons were dealing in gold.
As a result, she said officers of National Security in Kumasi arrested the accused persons, who are Chinese nationals, and another who is a Vietnamese national, from their residence at Parakuo Estates near Daaban, Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region.
Ms Arthur said after the arrest it was discovered that Shi Yang alias Philip is Shi Mei Zhi’s son, while the latter and Shi Mei Zhi are partners. Also, Shi Yang alias Philip and the Vietnamese, acquitted and discharged, were in a relationship.
She said a search conducted at their 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. This concession is located at Kofi Pare near Suhum.
“The second and third accused persons, 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 a refund of the GH¢285,000, and GH¢110,000 had been paid to Li Wei Guo.”
She added that Shi Yang alias Philip and Li Wei Guo were found to have mined at Nwinso near Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region in 2017.
PSA Arthur indicated that Shi Yang alias Philip was found to be the Director of Shima Ben Ghana Limited, a company which took over from 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 Shima Ben company, as well as excavator parts and industrial oil,” she stated.
According to her, although all three accused persons had residence permits in their passports, it had been found out that the Ghana Immigration Service did not issue them.
The case was adjourned to today, November 23, 2022, for a case management conference.
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