The prosecution and defence lawyers for the alleged Chinese ‘galamsey’ queen, En Huang, also known as Aisha, and four others yesterday expressed reservations about a court-appointed Chinese interpreter.
While the prosecution felt that the interpreter’s background as a law student could have an impact on his interpretation of issues; the lawyer for Aisha submitted that divisive tendencies among some Chinese provinces and their cultural differences, which they sometimes used against one another, constituted grounds for the court to thoroughly check the background of the interpreter, who is also Chinese.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Yvonne Attakorah-Obuobisa, told the court that her team was prepared to call witnesses at Wednesday's sitting but she expressed misgivings on behalf of the state and indicated that she preferred a layperson who would only be interested in the facts of the case and not the legal issues surrounding the case.
Counsel for the accused persons, Mr Bernard Owiredu, for his part told the court that discords among some of China’s provinces were such that his clients could be gravely affected if the interpreter’s background was not thoroughly researched.
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The presiding judge, Mr Justice Charles Ekow Baiden, informed the interpreter that he (the judge) was aware of his (interpreter’s) credentials as he had assisted the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in a number of cases with his language proficiency.
He, however, indicated that in order to afford the accused persons a fair trial, it was important for their lawyer’s wish to be granted.
Mr Justice Baiden, accordingly, dispensed with the services of the Chinese interpreter and adjourned the case to July 21, 2017 after consulting the chief court interpreter.
The court, on June 16, 2017, ordered the rearrest of two Chinese illegal miners working with Aisha as a result of their failure to meet bail conditions.
The two – Gao Jin Cheng, 45, and Lu Qi Jun, 39 - together with Aisha Huang and two others were granted a GH¢500,000 bail with one surety on June 2, 2017.
Huang was granted bail in the sum of GH¢500,000 with two sureties, both to be justified.
The court ordered that all the sureties must be Ghanaians whose residence statuses must be verified.
The Accra High Court on June 2, 2017 granted bail to En Huang and four other Chinese alleged illegal miners (galamseyers).
It also directed that the passports and travelling documents of the accused persons be deposited with the court registrar for onward transfer to the Director-General of the Ghana Immigration Service.
Aisha has been charged with undertaking small-scale mining operations, contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, (Act 703), and providing mine support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission, contrary to Section 59 and 99 (2) of the Minerals and Mining Act.
She has also been charged with the illegal employment of foreign nationals, contrary to Section 24 of the Immigration Act, 200 (Act 573) and Regulation 18(1) of the Ghana Immigration Regulations, 2001 (L.I.1691).
The four other Chinese - Cheng, Ju, Gao and Zhipeng - have been charged with disobedience of a directive given under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).