An immigration officer has testified that when he and other officers arrested some Chinese illegal miners in 2017 at Bepotenten in the Ashanti Region, they claimed they were working for En Huang a.k.a. Aisha Huang.
He, however, said he did not see Aisha Huang at the mining site or saw her engaging in illegal mining activities.
Superintendent Reuben Ransford Aborabora is the first prosecution witness in the trial in which Aisha Huang has been charged for allegedly engaging in mining without licence.
Led by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the witness told the Accra High Court today that on May 5, 2017, he led a team of officers to Bepotenten in the Ashanti Region.
According to him, the team went to Bepotenten to verify claims that some Chinese nationals were engaging in illegal mining in flagrance of the government’s ban on such activities.
The witness said when the team got to Bepotenten, they saw mining activities ongoing there with excavators, washing machine and other machines being used by the miners.
He added that the team further saw Chinese nationals and others at the site.
Supt Aborabora said the team also saw some Chinese in a wooden structure which had appliances and cooking utensils.
He said the team managed to arrest four Chinese nationals at the site.
“Upon arresting the four Chinese nationals, I interacted with them before we set off for Obuasi. I asked them if their mission at the site and Gao Jin Cheng [one of them] said they were there to mine for one Aisha,” the witness said.
During cross-examinations, counsel for Aisha, Captain (rtd) Nkrabea Effah-Dartey, asked the witness whether he saw his client at the mining site engaging in any mining activities, to which the witness said no.
Below is what ensued between counsel and the witness:
Question: Can you tell the court the very first day that you set eyes on the accused person?
Answer: When she was invited by the head of enforcement at Ghana Immigration Service, Kumasi after we sent the four Chinese nationals we arrested at Bepotenten to Kumasi.
Q: In other words, on the day that you carried out your operation the accused person was nowhere near Bepotenten?
After the cross-examination, Captain (rtd) Effah-Dartey moved a bail application and pleaded with the court to grant her client bail while the trial continued.
The presiding judge, Justice Lydia Marfo, dismissed the bail application and said the trial had already began and there is no delay.
Hearing continues on November 14, 2022 for the prosecution to call its second witness.
En Huang has been accused of being in the thick of affairs of galamsey, especially in the Ashanti Region.
She was deported from the country in 2018, after the A-G decided to discontinue her trial in which she was accused of engaging in small-scale mining without licence.
However, she was said to have sneaked back into the country to allegedly engage in the same activities for which she was deported.
The A-G then decided to prosecute her for the alleged crimes before her deportation and new ones committed since her entry back into the country.
It is the case of the prosecution that Aisha had an illegal mining concession at Bepotenten in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region and also operated a mining support services company.
She has pleaded not guilty to undertaking a mining operation without a licence, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, the illegal employment of foreigners, and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry.