Court silences Aisha Huang’s lawyer, orders police custody till end of trial
Chinese National, Aisha Huang, who is in court for her involvement in illegal mining activities (galamsey) in Ghana, has been remanded to police custody by the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court.
Presiding Judge Lydia Osei Marfo, during a sitting on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, refused the plea of her lawyer, Nkrabea Effah Dartey, after the latter argued that his client deserved bail.
According to the judge, all arguments previously made against his plea for bail, including his client’s flight risk, remain and will not be changed.
She added that his constant presence in court with his client would be the only way to ensure the case is heard accordingly for the determination of his client’s fate.
State Prosecutor Godfred Dame, on his part, reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring the case is duly heard and that the accused are prosecuted if found guilty.
Aisha Huang is in court over charges of mining without a license and engaging in the sale and purchase of minerals, four other charges, including undertaking a mining operation without a license.
She is also facing four other charges, including undertaking a mining operation without a license, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, illegal employment of foreign nationals, and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry were filed at the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court on Friday, September 16, 2022.
Her case has since been adjourned to October 24, 2022, for case management.
Four others remanded:
Meanwhile, four others, who appeared in court, 3 Chinese nationals and a Vietnam national, have all been remanded to reappear in court on November 1, 2022.
The 3 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.
Vietnam national; Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen is, however, being charged for 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).
Hearing their cases separately, the sitting judge heard the pleas of the 3 Chinese nationals but reserved that of the Vietnamese, Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, who had difficulty understanding the Chinese and English languages through which she was communicated.
Court denies accused persons bail:
On Tuesday, September 27, 2022, the accused persons were denied bail for the second time.
The sitting judge, Samuel Bright Acquah, argued that the case was one of public concern considering the depth of damage being done to the environment through galamsey activities.
Citing threats by Ghana Water Company to shut down if nothing is done about galamsey activities and the impact of same on marine species in affected waterbodies, among others, the judge refused the accused person bail.
The accused persons were, prior to this, denied bail on September 14, 2022, after lead counsel Nkrabea-Effah Dartey asked the court to grant his client and her three other Chinese counterparts bail.
Aisha Huang’s request, according to GhanaWeb’s court reporter, was objected to by the prosecution.
According to the prosecution, new arrests have been made therefore granting the accused persons bail may give them the opportunity to interfere with witnesses and investigations.
The prosecution, while citing public interest in the matter, also argued that Aisha Huang has a history of sneaking in and out of the country and is, therefore, a flight risk.