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The Koforidua Circuit Court B Presided over Her Honour Mercy Adei Kotei  on Friday refused bail plea by lawyer for the 29 foreign nationals arrested for engaging in illegal mining activities in the Atiwa Forest.

The judge’s decision was based on the fact that the exact places of abode by the accused persons had not been established.

The accused persons have been remanded into Prison Custody for two weeks and are expected to appear in court in batches  between February 17, 20,  24, and March 1,2 017 for trial to commence .

Each of the accused persons is facing three counts of conspiracy to mine without license, mining without licence and trespass of forest reserve .

All accused persons however pleaded not guilty to the counts.

Hearing of the case was made possible on Friday after prosecution managed to get interpreters for Zamrama, French, Hausa and Twi languages which the accused persons opted as means of communication.

Presenting the facts of the case to Court, the Deputy Eastern regional State Attorney, Cyril Boateng Keteku who is the prosecuting officer in the case   averred that complainants in the case are team of Forestry Taskforce  comprising of Police, Military and Personnel of the Forestry Services Division while the accused persons are mostly foreign Nationals from Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo and Mali.

He said  on January 26,2017, the complainants on their routine patrols in the forest ,chanced on the accused persons at about 5:am using sophisticated mining equipment, excavating the soil in prospect for gold and other minerals in the forest reserve without license .

The Prosecutor  further explained that the team succeeded in arresting 29 of them namely; Mohammed Omar, Mohammed Haruna, Amadu Basar, Dauda Zinjima, Amar Mohamed, Kassin Bramah, Mahamudu Arubakari and Sitah Zibo.

The others are Hamidu Amadu, Musah Iddrisu, Munkaila Bomboro , Omaru Sulemana, Addul M. Hudu, Zibo Alibu, Haruna Mumuni, Abdulai K. Kibo, Bukari Musah, Musah Ahmed and Sulley Aadum.

By: Ghana/ Ansah


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