Prosecution in the case of En Huang, aka Aisha, the alleged illegal mining (galamsey) kingpin, yesterday told the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court that Aisha’s supposed husband cannot be traced.
According to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs Yvonne Attakorah-Obuobisa, Aisha stated during her interrogation by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) that she had had an indefinite residence permit since 2015 by virtue of her marriage to a Ghanaian in 2007.
“However, all efforts to trace the supposed husband have proved futile,” the DPP said.
Mrs Attakorah-Obuabisa also disclosed that investigations revealed that Aisha, who is standing trial with four other Chinese for allegedly engaging in galamsey, had about three different nationalities.
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The other Chinese suspects are Gao Jin Cheng, Lu Qi Ju, Haibin Gao and Zhang Zhipeng.
They have been charged with undertaking illegal small-scale mining operations contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, (Act 703), as amended in 2015.
Aisha is also facing separate charges of providing mining support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission and the illegal employment of foreign nationals.
Presenting more facts of the case, Mrs Attakorah-Obuobisa said after the arrest of the other four Chinese at a galamsey site at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region on May 25, 2017, they revealed that they were employed by Aisha.
Officers of GIS, the DPP said, visited Aisha at her home in Kumasi, but instead of talking to them, she released her dogs to scare them away.
Aisha, she added, later visited the GIS and produced the passports of only two of the four Chinese, but the visas had expired on May 21, 2017.
Mrs Attakorah-Obuobisa further said Aisha informed the GIS that she leased an excavator to a woman she called Aunty Maggie and that the four Chinese were in Bepotenten to repair it.
After presenting the facts, the DPP called the first prosecution witness, Mr Ruben Ransford Aborabora, an Assistant Superintendent of the GIS based at the Obuasi command in the Ashanti Region.
She informed the court of the prosecution’s intention to call six witnesses to prove that the accused person were indeed deeply involved in galamsey.
Mr Aborabora, in his testimony, told the court that on May 5, 2017, upon an intelligence, he led six junior officers of the enforcement unit of the GIS Obuasi command to a galamsey site at Bepotenten with specific instructions to arrest some illegal miners.
Upon reaching the site, he said, he saw some expatriates and Africans busily engaged in mining activities.
“I saw six excavators with four in use, a sand washing machine and a generator,’’ he said.
According to him, the galamseyers, upon seeing the team, ran into a nearby cocoa farm, compelling him to order the team to go after them.
The immigration officer explained that he entered a wooden structure on the field and saw many rooms divided by wood, mattresses, mosquito nets and other items.
He said he saw Cheng in the wooden structure cooking and he subsequently arrested him.
The other three, he said, were arrested on the cocoa farm after a hot pursuit.
Mr Aborabora also stated that while conveying the four Chinese from Bepotenten to Obuasi, he asked of their mission at the site.
“They said they were there to mine for Madam Aisha,’’ he said.
When the DPP asked how he was able to communicate with the Chinese, Mr Aborabora said he spoke to them in “broken English”.
He further said he used his phone to record some of the activities and equipment at the galamsey site, which was later transferred onto a compact disc (CD) at the GIS command in Obuasi.
Hearing continues on October 9, 2017 where the said recording is expected to be shown at the court presided over by Mr Justice Charles Ekow Baiden.
The witness will also be cross-examined by the defence legal team.