Galamsey Queen Goes ‘Mad’

    /    May 24, 2017   /     Uncategorized  /    0 Comments  /    326 Views

Aisha covering her face from the cameras yesterday

 

En Huang, the 31-year-old Chinese lady in police grips over alleged illegal mining, yesterday vented her spleen at an Accra Criminal High Court following a botched attempt for bail.

Lawyers for En also known as Aisha Huang, had made frantic and passionate appeals to the court to grant the accused person and four others bail.

Jerry Akwetteh, lawyer for the suspects –  Gao Jin Cheng, 45; Lu Qi Jun, 39; Haibin Gao, 26; Zhang and Zhang Pen, 23 – last week dashed to the court in another desperate attempt to secure bail for his clients.

Bail

At yesterday’s sitting, visibly miffed Aisha was spotted in the courtroom shaking her head to warn her lawyer, Jerry Akwetteh not to talk to her.

She would not hear any more excuses as to why the court, presided over by Charles Edward Ekow Baiden, would instantly not grant the bail but adjourn ruling on the matter until June 2.

Apparently displeased with the judge’s decision, Aisha banged the seat before breaking down in tears as Justice Baiden walked into his chamber.

The five have since been whisked to the Nsawam Prisons.

Charges

However, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, represented by Mercy Arthur, a senior state attorney, had preferred fresh charges against the accused persons.

According to the charge sheet dated May 23, 2017, all five have been charged with “undertaking small scale mining without authority contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Mining and Minerals Act”

Aisha has been slapped with a second charge which reads “Providing Mine Support Services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission.”

She is facing an additional charge of Illegal employment of foreign nationals contrary to Section 24 of the Immigration Act, while the four others face the charge of disobedience of directive given by or under the Immigration Act, 2000.

The AG, surprisingly however, did not attach any brief facts to the charge sheet – a move the judge said was a departure from established convention.

The brief fact was expected to tell in detail the offences of the accused and support the charges preferred against the five.

Ms. Arthur had explained that it was not mandatory to add the brief facts to the charges, stressing that she would narrate the brief facts orally to the court.

She later backtracked, indicating that she would rely on the brief facts attached to the earlier charges struck out by the court.

Bail

Moving the motion for bail, Jerry told the court that Aisha has a medical condition which needed urgent attention.

He said he had attached the medical report of Aisha to the motion but was unable to disclose it because it was a private matter.

Aisha’s lawyer indicated that she (Aisha) would appear in court to stand trial and that in granting bail it was crucial the court looked at the severity of the offence preferred against the accused persons.

According to him, the charges preferred against the accused persons as at the time of filing the bail application, were all charges that attracted fines and not custodial sentences.

He stated that even if the accused persons had pleaded guilty to the offences, as per the charge sheet, then “They were not to face custodial sentences but rather fines.”

Jerry stated that Aisha submitted herself to the police, contrary to “public opinion,” indicative of the fact that the accused person was not a flight risk.

The counsel said his client was unaware of any directive that any foreigner entering Ghana should observe before getting work, adding that the charges against the accused persons are defective and that the hands of the judge were not tied.

Media

Kwame Owiredu, another member of the defence team, stated that Aisha was not only before the court to stand trial, but also to clear her name.

He contended that the accused had been hurt by the media, but the judge stated that the parties were not in court to deal with emotions.

Touching on the health of Aisha, Mr Owiredu said in as much as the state has the right to remand an accused person, the state also has a corresponding duty to ensure that the health of the accused is not compromised.

He was hopeful the affidavit of the AG would not fetter the hands of the judge or stand on his way to deny the bail. 

No Bail

But, Ms Arthur vehemently opposed the bail application, stating that even where Aisha had been remanded she could be assisted to take her medications or go for reviews.

She argued that Section 99 (1) of the Minerals Act provides for custodial sentences as well as a fine.

The senior state attorney disclosed that Aisha was still holding on to the passports of the other accused persons.

According to her, Aisha had only released two of the passports belonging to Gao and Zhang.

She was emphatic that the accused persons when granted bail, would interfere with the ongoing investigations of the police.

The accused persons worked as illegal miners (galamseyers) at Bepotenten in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region.

At the time of their arrest, galamsey had been outlawed by the government through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu.

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