The Koforidua Circuit Court B presided by Her Honour Mercy Addei Kotei on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 remanded into Police custody 31 individuals who were caught mining illegally in the Eastern region under the guise of National Security.
The plea of the accused persons was not taken. They are expected to reappear before the court on May 24, 2021.
The accused person are George Asante, Kwaku Frimpong, Alfred Kyei, Yaw Opoku, Richard Nartey, Paul Osei Kuffour, Dominic Beblie, Samuel Kofi Edusei, Silas Boakye Gyan, Joseph Oduro Asare, Mukaila Attah, Stephen Opoku, Michael Quansah, Derrick Adu Kwakye, Razark Suleman, Stephen Kofi Felan, Dominic Ghansah, Robert Nartey Tetteh, Eric Addei, Yakubu Mohammed@ Jordan 1 and Benlord Abebio@ Commander.
The rest are Adam Dakurugu, Kwame Isaac, Joe Acquah, Emmanuel Arhin, Samuel Asiedu Gyamfra, David Akakpo, Ebenezer Boateng, Joseph Kwaku Gyqmfi, Fuseini Alhassan, Alhassan Asibi and Gabriel Dormate.
They have been charged provisionally with possession of firearms without lawful excuse.
The Kaneshie District Court presided over by her Worship Ama Adomako Kwakye on Monday refused to hear the case of 11 of the accused persons arraigned before her.
The court held that the case was not properly before her.
The court held that, per Section 192 (2) of the Criminal and Offences Act 1960, Act 29 as amended, before the court entertains such a case, it needs written consent from the Attorney General.
The court said that written consent had not come before her, therefore, she cannot grant bail or remand the accused persons.
This was after ASP Sylvester Asare for the prosecution asked the court to remand the accused persons into proper custody pending the conclusion of their Investigations.
One of the Defence lawyers drew the court’s attention to the provision of Section 192(2) of the Criminal Offences Act and asked the court to let go the accused persons.
He also used the opportunity to pray for bail for the accused persons.
The court after listening to them said there was no case before her to decide and neither granted the bail nor remand them.
She said the accused persons can go home but they were immediately re-arrested by the police.
The brief facts of the case were that the accused persons are group of persons who carried themselves as operatives of the National Security.
According to the Prosecution, sometimes in January, the security agencies picked up information that the accused persons armed with weapons and riffles are undertaking illegal mining activities in the name of the National Security and harassing the natives of villages around the Eastern Region with their weapons.
The Prosecutor said, upon the strength of the information, a team of officers both plain clothes and uniform officers from the National Security secretariat were dispatched to the area to ascertain the facts.
He told the court that, the officers together with a team of police officers from the Eastern Regional Police command proceeded to the Akenteng portion of the Atewa forest reserve, near Osinease in the Eastern Region where the team met and rescued the accused persons from an angry youth at Akanteng.
The Prosecution said preliminary Investigations revealed that, the accused persons are group of persons who carried themselves as National Security Operatives whereas in fact, they are not.
The Prosecution said, the accused persons armed with weapons and parading themselves as National Security Operatives have been visiting several mining towns and villages within the Ashanti and the Eastern Region to undertake illegal mining activities.
It was also established that, the accused persons as part of their unlawful activities threatened, demanded and seized unspecified kilos of gold and huge sums of money from certain small scale miners (Galamsey) in the name of the National Security.
He said, on May 4, the accused persons armed with rifles stormed the Akenteng forest reserve in the Eastern Region as officers of the NS in furtherance of their identity and mission pounced on them in the forest whilst digging and arrested them.
The accused persons according to the prosecution were later brought to Accra for further interrogations.
The Prosecution said, in the course of interrogation, the accused persons indicated that they were not officers of the National Security as they alleged.
The accused persons however claimed ownership of the weapons retrieved.
According to the prosecution, the accused persons added that they were in the forest to undertake reconnaissance.
The Prosecution said exhibits retrieved from the accused persons include a Tudor short gun, pump-action gun, two bad short gun, assault rifles and 10 rounds of ammunition as well as cougar pistol.
The team also retrieved from the accused persons 12 Gotta handsets, three handcuffs, four shovel and an electronic shocker.