The new lawyers representing Aisha Huang in the ongoing illegal small-scale mining, galamsey, trial have identified that the third witness from the State as part of his witness made some inaccurate comments.
Nana Sarfo Prempeh, the witness had already told the court that Aisha Huang had encroached on the concession of his company, Volta Resources Ltd, to illegally mine submitting a witness statement as well as documents and receipts to that effect.
But during cross-examination, Lead Counsel for the controversial Chinese, Miracle Atta-Chey established that the witness in his earlier statement attempted to cover his operations after presenting an exhibit which indicated that the company of the witness was being investigated for mining without a license by the authorities.
Nana Sarfo Prempeh denied and explained that the situation has been misconstrued.
“The investigators were misconstrued until they met me in person to hear my version. I was called into this case because the accused was being investigated for illegal mining and I was able to assist with evidence against the accused whereby Volta Resources had been a victim of Aisha Huang’s illegal mining,” Prempeh told the Court.
When asked if he had met Aisha Huang before, the witness hesitated before answering that he had met her through her mining activities.
He further explained that after his outfit reported the Chinese national’s illegal mining operations to the IGP, officials were dispatched on different occasions to seize her equipment from the mining concessions.
Find below some of the exchanges between Aisha Huang‘s legal team and the State’s witness, as published by Accra-based TV3.
Lawyer: Have you met the accused in person before?
Witness: I’ve met her through her activities. One in October 2017, 4 of her excavators were seized by law enforcement agencies and deposited at the 4th battalion infantry in Kumasi.
In Feb 2016, VR made a complaint to the IGP against illegal activities of Aisha Huang and a team of officers were dispatched all the way from Accra to the concession and seized 2 of her machines.
In Aug 2016, the Ashanti Regional Security (Regsec) undertook an operation and seized her machines. In Jan 2017, the Bekwai district police undertook an operation at the concession of VRL and two of her machines were seized.
Lawyer: I put it to you that the accused person does not own any excavator or mining equipment as alleged by you.
Witness: the accused person has always made an appearance claiming ownership of the seized equipment. Unless the accused can show receipts or evidence to show who ahhe was renting the equipment to use got the illegal mining on the concession.
Because in every instance that VRL caused machines were being used for illegal mining it’s the accused that Media report covering a demonstration by residents at Gyaaman and Bepotenten whereby Ms Aisha Huang is being accused of mining and destroying the farms and drinking water of those residents. And that demonstration was covered by the media.
Lawyer: Have you been present in person all the incidents that you have narrated to this court regarding the alleged seizure of equipment?
Witness: in some instances yes, in others, no. May the court note that VR is a company so the director need not always be there but I myself have been there.
The trial hearing continues on Tuesday, November 29.