‘Galamsey Queen’ begs for mercy

En Huang, the 31-year-old Chinese lady, who is standing trial over alleged illegal mining (galamsey), has filed an application for variation of bail conditions at an Accra High Court (Criminal Division).

The Chinese lady, popularly known as Aisha Huang, and four other Chinese nationals, were arrested by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) in Kumasi and brought to Accra for trial following the suspicion that they were illegally operating a mining concession.

She was granted bail by the court in June 2017 in the sum of GH¢500,000 with two sureties to be justified.

The four others: Gao Jin Cheng, 45; Lu Qi Jun 39; Habin Gao, 26 and Zhang Pen, 23; were also granted bail in the sum of GH?500,000.00 with one surety each who must be a Ghanaian by birth.

Each surety is to be justified.

Aisha, or Yaa Asantewaa, has additionally been accused of providing mine support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission.

As part of the bail conditions, all the accused persons are to report twice a week to the Inspector General of Police or the Director of Immigration in Accra or their representatives, in writing.

They were also ordered to hand over their passports to the registrar of the court to be sent to the Director of Immigration or the IGP.

But five months after bail was granted, the five are praying the court to show some mercy in their bail conditions.

The application, filed by their counsel, Bernard Owiredu Donkor, is particularly concerned with the five reporting twice every week to the IGP or the Director of Immigration in Accra, since they are staying in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

The applicants want the court to allow them to report to the Ashanti Regional Police Commander or the Immigration boss in the region because of the financial constrains associated with travelling to Accra from Kumasi.

He told the court that the Attorney General had been served with the application on November 21, 2017.

But a Chief State Attorney, Watkins Adama, told the court that he had not received any application and therefore could not respond to it.

The court subsequently set November 28, 2017 for the hearing of the application.

The substantive case involving the five Chinese nationals has been adjourned to January 29, 2018.

They have been charged with undertaking small-scale mining without authority, contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Mining and Minerals Act.

Aisha Huang has been slapped with an additional charge of providing mine support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission.

She is facing another 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.

They have been accused of undertaking their activities at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region.

Aisha is also accused of providing excavators to small-scale mining companies from February 2015 to May 2017 without a valid licence from the Minerals Commission.

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