The trial judge in the case involving Aisha Huang and four others accused of engaging in illegal mining, Mr Justice Charles Ekow Baiden, has expressed dissatisfaction at the slow pace at which the state is prosecuting the case.

According to him, the prosecutor’s inability to provide Cheng, one of the Chinese nationals, to stand trial with the others, has made it difficult for the case to proceed.

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The court at its last sitting issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Cheng, considered key to the prosecution’s case.

He also asked the state to present the right documents to enable the case to continue if they were still unable to locate the whereabouts of Cheng.

The case, however, has been adjourned to July 5, this year.

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Judge unhappy

Mr Justice Baiden said, “if you don’t want to continue, tell me so that we do not come and sit here and waste everybody’s time.”

The angry judge said it was unfair for the state prosecutor to make officials of the Ghana Immigration Service and the Chinese Embassy come and sit in court for no show.

“This is not good at all. You must try and use the law to move your case instead of coming here and nothing happening,” Mr Justice Baiden said.

Charges and facts

Aisha and her compatriots were arraigned before court on May 9, 2017 for engaging in illegal small-scale mining at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region.

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She has been charged with three counts of undertaking small-scale mining operations, contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703); providing mining support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission, contrary to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), and the illegal employment of foreign nationals, contrary to the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

The other four accused persons were charged with disobedience of directives given by or under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

According to the prosecution, Aisha had a mining concession at Bepotenten and also operated a mining support services company.

The four other accused persons, it said, were employed by Aisha to work at the mining site.

The prosecution claimed checks at the Minerals Commission, however, revealed that Aisha had no licence to operate either a mine or a mining support services company.

They also contended that the visas issued to all the five Chinese by the Ghana Embassy in Beijing, China, did not allow them to work in Ghana.