Hafsa Obeng, GNA
Accra, May 31, GNA – An Accra Circuit Court hearing the matter involving four Russians who were arrested at Tontokrom in the Ashanti Region engaging in small scale mining without license has set June 14 to rule on a bail application for the accused persons.
The four Farid Isaer, Vadim Potokia, and Serhii Chepurniy all engineers and Genadiy Ruber, Site Manager have earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit crime and undertaking small scale mining without license.
Counsel for the accused person Mr Emmanuel K Darko prayed the court to grant the accused persons bail, but the application was opposed by the prosecution who pleaded with the court to remand them to enable the police to complete its investigations.
The court presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh, adjourned the matter to June 14 for the police to complete their investigation and also to rule on the bail application.
The facts of the case as presented by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Cletus Abadamlora was that the complainant is a Police Officer attached to the Lands and Forestry Ministry, While the accused persons are foreigners from Russia and Ukraine and residents of Tontokrom in the Ashanti Region.
He said the Minister for Lands and Forestry recently gave an ultimatum to all small scale mining companies and illegal miners popularly known as ‘galamseyers’ operating within the country to stop activities till their operations are regularised.
The prosecution said government thus banned any form of small scale mining in the country until further notice.
He told the court that on May 22, the Minister and a team including the complainant went on a fact finding mission ascertain whether the ban was being complied with at Manso Tontokrom.
DSP Abadamlora said the team met the accused persons using heavy duty equipment which had degraded a vast land thereby destroying farm crops and cocoa farms of the inhabitants and also polluted their source of drinking water.
He said the accused persons were then arrested upon which they said they were employees of Geo Professional Services (GPS), a mining company.GNA