Court grants bail to illegal miners who posed as national security operatives

The Atewa Forest illegal miners who posed as national security operatives have been granted bail by a Koforidua Circuit Court in the sum of GH¢350,000.00 each and two sureties, one to be justified.

The 32 accused persons, who were refused bail twice last month and remanded into police custody, are to re-appear on July 8 at the Circuit Court.

Earlier, their lawyers prayed the court presided over by Mrs Mercy Adei-Kotei that their clients would not run away and that they would be available anytime the court needed them, and should therefore be considered for bail.

Brief facts of the case, as presented by the prosecution team led by Assistant State Attorney Mr Dickson Donkor, are that on May 4, this year the accused persons who carried themselves as operatives of the National Security, stormed the Akenteng, a community in the Atewa Forest reserve to mine gold illegally.

Following security intelligence, which picked information that the accused persons armed with weapons and riffles, were undertaking illegal mining activities in the name of the National Security and harassing inhabitants of villages and communities with their weapons in the area.

The prosecution said on the strength of the intelligence picked, a team of police officers both plain and uniformed officers from the national security secretariat were dispatched to the area to ascertain the facts.

A team of Police Officers from the Eastern Regional police command then joined the national security team and proceeded to Akenteng, portion of the Atewa forest reserve in the Atiwa East District, where the team met and rescued the accused persons from an angry youth who had already invaded the forest in an attempt to arrest them.

According to the prosecution, preliminary investigations showed that the accused persons carried themselves as national security operatives whereas in fact they were not.

It added that armed with weapons they had been visiting several mining towns and villages within Ashanti and Eastern regions to do illegal mining.

The prosecution also established that the accused persons as part of their unlawful activities, threatened, demanded and seized an unspecified kilogrammes of gold and huge sums of money from certain small scale miners in the name of national security and were arrested in the process of mining for the gold and sent to Accra later for interrogations.

In the course of the interrogations, the accused persons said they were not officers of national security as they alleged.

Exhibits retrieved from the accused persons include; Tudor shot gun, a pump action gun, two hand short guns, assault rifles and 10 rounds of ammunition, cougar pistol, 12 Gota handsets, three handcuffs, four shovels and an electronic shocker.

Source: GNA

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