A Divisional Chief at Asante Agogo Traditional Area in the Ashanti Region, yesterday detailed the devastation caused by En Huang, aka Aisha Huang and her cohorts through illegal mining at Bepotenten in Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region.
Nana Kofi Sarfo Prempeh, who is also the Director of Volta Resources Limited, yesterday told an Accra High Court about what he described as tremendous devastation to the concession of his company between 2015 and 2017 by Aisha Huang, thereby rendering its exploration programme infeasible in the areas she mined.
He added that all the steps he took to stop her illegal mining activities, including reporting the issue to the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, the Police Headquarters as well as an interim injunction issued by the Bekwai Circuit Court could not stop her.
Nana Prempeh revealed this when he was led in his evidence-in-chief by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, in the trial in which Aisha Huang has been charged for undertaking illegal mining at Bepotenten.
She has also been charged for illegally re-entering Ghana following her repatriation in 2018 when she was arrested in May 2017, and put on trial for a similar offence of illegal mining.
Nana Prempeh, who is the prosecution’s third witness, stated that in 2013, Volta Resources Limited entered into an agreement with a company called Realistic Enterprise for the transfer of its concession in the Amansie Central covering an area of 70.89sqkm to Volta Resources.
He tendered in evidence a mineral cadaster map showing the concession which passes through Homachem, Kronko, Nimbreso, Subima, Gyaaman and ends at Bepotenten. This transfer, he said, was approved by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.
“Volta Resources Limited does not engage in mining activities, either small scale or large scale. The operations of the company are limited to prospecting for minerals, for which the licence was issued. However, due to the activities of encroachers like the accused herein (Aisha Huang), Volta Resources Limited is unable to conduct effective exploration,” Nana Prempeh told the court.
He told the court that Aisha Huang commenced her mining operations on the concession of Volta Resources Limited at Gyaaman but later moved her activities to another part of the company’s concession at Bepotenten, where her Chinese workers were arrested in May 2017.
He said all efforts to evict her from the land and stop her illegal mining activities proved futile, adding that he described her mining as illegal because Volta Resources Limited had been granted a prospecting licence over that area of land, so there was no way Aisha Huang could possibly have a mining licence over the same land.
“I reported the case of her encroachment and illegal mining to REGSEC (Regional Security Council) and also the chiefs and traditional leaders of Bekwai for resolution, but that proved futile,” Nana Prempeh lamented.
He continued that in February 2016, Volta Resources Limited made a formal complaint at the Police Headquarters, and a team of investigators was assigned to address their grievances, but that also did not yield any positive result.
He also told the court that in April 2017, Volta Resources Limited filed a writ against Aisha Huang, and the company later secured an interim injunction issued by the Bekwai Circuit Court against Aisha Huang restraining her from mining on the concession.
Nana Prempeh further told the court that the company caused two publications in the media on the devastating effects Aisha Huang’s illegal mining was having on the company’s concessions and the host communities. One of the stories was published by DAILY GUIDE while the other was published on citifmonline.
He added that when Aisha was eventually arrested in June 2017, Volta Resources Limited wrote a letter to the then Inspector General of Police complaining about the failure of the arresting officers to seize the mining equipment of Aisha Huang, which were in use at the time of the arrest of her employees at Bepotenten. He tendered in the letter.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak