The four are made up of three Chinese nationals and a Vietnamese whose permit to stay in the country is said to have expired.
These Chinese nationals – Shi Yang alias Philip, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi are on a provisional charge of engaging in small scale-mining 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.
While Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, described as a Vietnamese, was on charge of remaining in Ghana after the expiration of a permit contrary to sections 20(1) and 52(1)(d) of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
Their plea has been reserved by the Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo.
Argument for bail
Defence lawyers led by Nkrabea Effah Darteh had prayed for them to be granted bail.
He argued that, these four accused are entitled to bail and that, “the law is very clear that after an arrest within 48hrs, you must come to court and explain why they must be in custody.”
Counsel contended that, the accused persons have been held “incommunicado” and that, he was not having access to them as counsel.
“The whole public is being fed with all manner of information about Chinese,” he expressed concerns to the court.
“The central point is that, what specifically have the accused persons done? It is not enough to say they should be remanded while investigations are done,” counsel prayed.
He intimated that, “the end of justice will require that you (court) admit the four of them to court bail” and that “when you (court) give the conditions, we will do all we can to satisfy the conditions.”
Principal State Attorney, Mercy Arthur told the court during the virtual court sitting that, they do not intend to take the plea of the accused persons as investigations are still underway following their arrest on September 14.
On the issue of bail, she said, “I do not think it is appropriate for counsel to make this submission. They were arrested on September 14 and we have not exceeded the 48hrs.”
“We want them remanded to complete our investigation. We will expedite action on investigations” the Principal State Attorney assured before urging the court to decline the invitation.
Her Ladyship Justice Lydia Osei Marfo after listening to the arguments refused the application for bail.
“The prosecution has indicated the accused persons should be remanded into lawful custody to enable further investigation.
“They are remanded into the national security custody until the next adjourned date where investigation would be completed and we will take their plea,’ the judge directed.
The case has been adjourned to October 11, 2022.
Per the brief facts presented to the court by Mercy Arthur, the Principal State Attorney, a team of personnel from the Ministry of National Security, Accra upon receipt of intelligence arrested the accused persons on September 14, 2022.
She said, the first, second and third accused persons are Chinese nationals and were arrested together with the fourth accused person a Vietnamese national, from their residence at Paraku Estates near Daban, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
The Principal State Attorney said, preliminary investigations revealed that the four accused persons were involved in prohibited mining transactions with En Huang @ Aisha and other Chinese nationals at mining sites in the Obuasi municipality.
She told the court that, a search conducted at their residence at Paraku Estates, Kumasi revealed five payment receipts of evidencing purchase of mining concessions.
“In addition, it was disclosed that the accused persons together with others use WeChat, a social media platform for all correspondences in relation to their illegal mining activities,” she noted.
According to her, investigations further revealed that the fourth accused person was issued an extension of permit on May 9, 2022 to remain in Ghana until August 8, 2022 but at the time of her arrest, the permit had expired.
“The four accused persons have been detained to assist with investigations and frantic efforts are being made to find and arrest their accomplices, the Principal State Attorney noted.