An Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Bright Acquah, yesterday denied bail to ‘galamsey queen’ Aisha Huang, who has been arraigned for engaging in illegal mining.
That was after Aisha had pleaded not guilty to the charge of engaging in sale of minerals without licence, and mining without license.
The proceedings yesterday were not without drama as one of the accused persons, charged alongside Huang, Jong Li Hua, collapsed in the course of the hearing.
In another drama, the Police administration also contradicted reports and documents by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) suggesting that Aisha Huang was repatriated from the country’s jurisdiction in 2018.
Police prosecutors told the court that she fled the jurisdiction, contrary to claims by the Ghana Immigration Service that she was repatriated.
Many have been wondering as to why the security agencies would give conflicting reports on this matter. They also find it difficult to understand why the heads of the two agencies are unable to reconcile their position.
Aisha Huang was arrested through a National Security operation after she reportedly ‘sneaked’ into the country to again undertake the illegal mining activity.
Aisha is currently facing criminal charges with three others at an Accra Circuit Court. The other accused persons, all Chinese nationals, are Jong Li Hua, Huang Jei and Huiad Hiahu. The three have also pleaded not guilty to the charge of sale of mining equipment without license
Counsel for the accused, Nkrabeah Effah Dartey, in his bail application described the charges as minor, and wondered why after 14 days of Aisha’s remand, the police had not been able to complete its thorough investigations.
He said the media had placed too much emphasis on what he described as “a small case”, adding that his clients have people of good substance to stand as sureties for them.
Chief Inspector Frederick Sarpong opposed the bail application on grounds that, if granted bail, the accused persons would hamper investigations.
“As Aisha stands here, she cannot tell the court how she got into the country,” the prosecutor added.
He clarified that the accused were charged with criminal offences, and not merely before the court by virtue of their nationality or colour.
He prayed the court to remand the accused persons into police custody, assuring the court that counsel would have access to them anytime they wish to.
In his ruling, the judge said the “accused may not appear to stand trial and may interfere with evidence and hamper trial”
Subsequently, the judge remanded the accused persons into police custody. The suspects are to re-appear before the court on September 27, 2022.
The prosecutor, Detective Chief Inspector Frederick Sarpong, told the court that Aisha had previously escaped prosecution in Accra when she was arrested.
According to him, Aisha returned to China and changed her identity, only to come back to Ghana to commit the same crime for which she had escaped prosecution earlier.
Inspector Sarpong said the accused person applied for a Togolese visa, and entered Ghana through its border with Togo and back to the galamsey business in a town in the Ashanti Region.
The three others with her, according to the prosecutor, sold mining equipment and dealt in gold in Accra, without a valid licence. They were arrested upon intelligence by the National Security.
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has declared the outmost support of his government to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, as he takes steps to prosecute persons found to be engaged in illegal mining in the country.
He has particularly assured of his full support to the Attorney General in all efforts to prosecute Aisha Huang and her collaborators.
“I expect, if they are found guilty, that the courts will apply the full vigour of the new amended Act 995, which has increased substantially the punishment for breaches of the law,” the President said this when he addressed members of the Ghana Bar Association during their conference in Ho on Monday.