The five Chinese illegal miners who were arrested by the forestry commission taskforce in collaboration with the military at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District, Ashanti Region on Thursday, August 2, 2018, have been granted police enquiry bail, pending investigations into the validity of their passports and working permits.
The foreigners were engaged in illegal mining in the forest and that prompted the security personnel to arrest them. The equipment belonging to the miners were seized by the task force and they were subsequently charged with illegal mining without authorization.
They were unable to produce the documents requested by the court. The foreigners were scheduled to reappear before the Bekwai Circuit court last Thursday, August 16, 2018.
According to Angel FM’s Bekwai correspondent, Nana Poku, who was at the court, the defendants’ lawyer pleaded to the judge, Justice Frederick Nawura that the foreign nationals were not engaging in illegal mining but they were engineers sent by their company to dismantle galamsey equipment in the forest. The attorney said the five Chinese worked with a company that had been contracted by the forestry commission to reclaim the degraded lands in the forest. In the process, some of the company’s staff diverted into illegal mining instead of reclaiming the lands. This unfortunate act prompted the company’s management to send the five engineers for the dismantling exercise to prevent the said illegal mining on the field. The name of the contracting company is yet to be known.
The judge requested for their passports and working permits to justify their engineering qualifications and authorization to work in Ghana as engineers. The foreigners were unable to produce the documents in court and the judge granted them police enquiry bail. His Lordship, Justice Nawura referred their passport and working permit investigations to the Ghana Immigration Service and the case was adjourned to Monday, August 20, 2018.
Ghanaians across the world are keenly following this case until the truth prevails in terms of the directors of the company where the illegal mining was conducted alongside the reclamation exercise, names of the staff that engaged in the illegal mining before the dismantling exercise, the date that the contract was awarded and the arrival date of the Chinese engineers who were sent to dismantle the illegal mining equipment.