An Accra high court has adjourned the hearing of a bail application by Asia Huang, a Chinese lady arrested for illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.
Jerry Akwetey lawyer for Huang and four other Chinese national, prayed the court to grant his clients bail pending a May 23 hearing of the substantive matter.
But the Chief State Attorney Mercy Arthur vehemently opposed the bail application and requested for more time to study the reasons for the bail application as well as a docket she received from the Immigration Service, which arrested the suspects.
Asia Huang, together with the four others were arrested in Kumasi by the Ghana Immigration Service for allegedly engaging in galamsey.
The four were picked up in one of the mines in Obuasi busy engaging in galamsey, an act that was in violation of Ghana’s mining laws and in apparent disobedience of an ultimatum given by the Lands Minister for all illegal mining activities to cease.
The four, Gao Jin Cheng, 45; Lu Qi Jun, 39; Haibin Gao, 26; Zhang Pen, 23, named Asia Huang as the one who contracted them to engage in the illegal activity. She had been known and alleged to be powerfully notorious in her illegal activity.
She was however arrested by the Immigration Service and hauled before court together with the other suspects.
The court remanded the suspects to reappear on May 23 after preliminary charges were levelled against them.
However, pressure group OccupyGhana claimed five charges levelled against the suspects were too soft and petitioned the Attorney General to charge the suspects under the Minerals Act.
The group named the charges, as illegal employment of foreign nationals contrary to Section 24 of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) and Regulation 18(1) of the Immigration Regulation, 2001 (L.I. 1691), as well as disobedience of a directive given by or under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) contrary to Section 52 (1) of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
The petition dated May 16, 2017, said: “We are deeply concerned that the immigration offences laid against the accused persons do not match the severity of the act of employing or being employed illegally at a small mining site.”
Even before the May 23 adjourned date for the case to be heard, lawyers for the five suspects hurried to court in a desperate attempt to secure bail for the suspects.
Joy News’ Joseph Ackah Blay who was in court reported the Chief State Attorney, Mercy Arthur as saying, the state needs at least one week to study the two documents, the bail application as well as the docket handed over to her by the arresting institution.
She also hinted the state intends to charge the five under Minerals and Mining Act 2006, (Act 703).
The presiding judge Mr Justice Charles Ekow Baiden adjourned hearing to May 23, during which he intends to rule on the bail application.
The suspects will remain at the prison custody in Nsawam where they have been since their arrest.
Ackah Blay however reported the suspects were not in court for the bail application hearing. Their lawyers were but had their request for bail adjourned at least for one more week.