Circuit Court Judge Samuel Bright Acquah has said urge his fellow judges to be tough on cases brought to them involving illegal small-scale mining (galamsey).
While ruling on a bail application filed by the lawyers of galamsey queen Aisha Huang on Tuesday, 27 September 2022, Justice Acquah bemoaned how galamsey is destroying water bodies, wild life and farmlands, indicating that it poses a threat to Ghana’s environment.
Ms Huang and three others, who are accused of engaging in illegal mining and the sale of minerals without a licence, have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
They are represented by retired army captain Nkrabeah Effah Dartey.
Denying the accused persons bail, Justice Acquah complained about how galamsey is destroying the nation’s water bodies and cited recent fears expressed by the Ghana Water Company Limited that it could be forced to shut down its system due to the threat posed to water production by galamsey and its related activities.
He feared the menace could lead the country to start importing water.
In his view, the courts and everyone must take a strong stance against galamsey.
According to him, Aisha Huang was a flight risk since she could not tell how she re-entered Ghana after her deportation in 2018 and, thus, denied the bail application.
This is the second time Aisha Huang has been denied bail since she was re-arrested a few weeks ago.
She had been in police custody since 14 September 2022 after the first bail hearing.
Before the ruling, Aisha Huang’s lawyer, questioned: “Where is the evidence? Why should this take more than one month? The element of they being foreigners should weigh on your mind. Ghanaians are all over the world. I am pleading with you, to admit them to court bail. We will satisfy the conditions”.
“His Excellency the President, the Attorney General cannot say anything if you grant them bail. You can perfectly do that. They are keeping the accused persons in total incommunicado. Going to BNI is like attacking a virgin’s home,” Mr Effah Dartey told the judge.
Opposing the bail application, the prosecutors said: The “fact is that these persons are charged, investigations show they entered this country illegally. That is enough to draw a conclusion that they have no fixed place of abode let alone gainfully employed”.
“We invite you to avert your mind to the fact that inasmuch as they deserve justice, the laws of the land, which have been desecrated also deserve justice. They are remanded as we continue with investigations”, the sate prosecutors stated.
The case was adjourned to 12 October 2022.