Chinese & Ghanaian illegal miners denied bail again, remanded in prison custody

The Sekondi High Court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante has once again denied bail to the five Chinese and their five Ghanaian counterparts who were arrested for engaging in illegal mining on the Ankobra river. They have been remanded into Prison Custody to re-appear on May 3, 2017. Western regional correspondent William Benjamin Peters who followed proceedings at the court reports, one of the counsels for the suspects Samuel Erickson Abakah said he was disappointed in the failure by the court to grant the suspects bail, since their case is a bailable offence. Proceedings at the court took a new twist as the request by the court for the Chinese suspects to get an interpreter was honored. A Chinese interpreter, Yang Weiqiang was brought in and was led by chief interpreter from the headquarters of the judicial services, Nat Karikari. Eight charges were leveled against the Chinese suspects including lack of working permit. Seven charges were brought against the Ghanaian suspects. All the ten suspects pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against them. Two witnesses including a security personnel and a canoe operator who work on the Ankobra River also appeared in court to testify against the suspects. The supervising High Court judge, Justice Edward Amoako Asante after hearing both parties, turned down the pleas by the counsels for the suspects to be granted bail and ordered for the suspects to be taking to Prison custody and to reappear on May 3, 2017 as investigations continues. One of the counsels for the suspects, Samuel Erickson Abakah later told journalists the court is investigating the fresh charges brought against the suspects, but expressed his disappointment in the court for denying the suspects bail after spending several weeks in police custody. He also explained why the suspects are now being taken into prison custody saying it was to allow for proper supervision as investigations continue. The Chinese suspects are Dong Cheng, 30; Hung Jian, 51; Ning Guorui, 42; Yin Biquiang, 46 and Li Zilong, 44. Their Ghanaian counterparts are Eric Owusu, 28; Kwabena Adjei, 50; Nana Adu, 42; Kwasi Owusu, 28, and Kofi Darko, 21. The ten suspects were arrested by police personnel from the regional headquarters in Sekondi following their pollution of the Ankobra River through their illegal mining activities popularly known as ‘galamsey’. They had constructed make shift structures on the river which included a place of convenience.

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