‘Aisha Huang Not My Client’ – Freddie W. Blay
THE IMMEDIATE past National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie W. Blay, says his law firm, Blay & Associates, is not offering any legal representation for En Huang, the Chinese national, who is popularly known as Aisha Huang, in the illegal mining case before the Accra Criminal High Court 5.
According to him, Blay & Associates are only representing Shi Yang alias Philip, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi, all Chinese nationals, and a fourth accused person, Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, a Vietnamese national.
In a statement issued yesterday, Mr. Blay also clarified that he was not personally involved in the handling of the case, but the law firm he belongs to.
“The names of persons that some media platforms have reported that we are defending are completely false,” the statement added.
It continued, “We have no engagement with Gao Jin Cheng, Lu Qi Jun, Haibin Go, or Zhang Zhipeng who are noted as Aisha Huang’s associates.”
“We also do not have any engagement with Aisha Huang,” the statement stressed, pointing out that they are extremely conscious of the sensitive nature of the “Aisha Huang matter” and the current devastating effects of illegal mining on the country’s environment.
“We, along with all citizens of Ghana, are very concerned about this and look forward to the resolution of these matters.
“Nevertheless, we believe we are duty bound to ensure the fair trial of our clients caught in the crossfires of the campaign against illegal mining,” the statement said.
The former NPP Chairman explained that to them at the law firm, “it would seem that our clients are collateral victims to a matter that is of great national concern.”
“We understand the deep-seated anger and sentiments any story on illegal mining evokes in Ghanaians,” it said.
“Even worse is when those accused are foreign nationals because of the extensive degradation and pollution of water bodies laid at their doorstep,” the statement intimated.
“At Blay and Associates, however, we believe in the inviolability of the judicial system. Blay & Associates is a firm that seeks to promote justice, ensures a fair trial, and seeks to give fair representation,” the statement indicated.
It continued, “We, as firm believers of our great 1992 Constitution of Ghana, agreed to defend these clients, having in mind these principles.”
The statement explained that the law firm’s defence of the accused persons was steeped in their belief that the accused persons “are innocent of the charges preferred against them.”
The statement recounted the case and pointed out that the 1st to 3rd accused persons are legally resident, law-abiding persons in Ghana.
“Our clients have no business relationship with Aisha Huang except the fact of purchasing the supermarket from her in 2017 when she was first repatriated to China,” the statement noted.
It pointed out that Aisha Huang has had no further business dealings with “our clients upon her return to Ghana.”
“Our clients operate a supermarket business that stocks regular goods and some specific Chinese groceries making them a reliable shop for Chinese and Asian patronage,” the statement said.
It argued that a supermarket, no matter how vibrant it is, does not ripen into an illegal mining activity.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Aisha Huang was arrested at a different time and place to our clients who were minding their business at home when they were picked up in the early hours on 14 September, 2022.
“It would appear that our clients are collateral victims of the pursuit for Aisha Huang and the campaign against illegal mining,” the statement stressed.