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Russian ‘Galamseyers’ Trial Begins

An Accra Circuit Court has set October 25 to commence hearing of the case in which two Russians and two Ukrainians have been charged for engaging in illegal mining in the country without license.

The state is yet to begin the trial months after the four, Farid Isaev, Vadim Potokin, Serhii Chepurniy – all engineers and Genadiy Rubec, a site manager, were hauled before the court for the offence.

At the hearing yesterday, the judge, Aboagye Tandoh ordered the accused persons to tell their interpreter to be in court at the next adjourned date.

At the last hearing, lawyers of the accused had pleaded with the court to allow their clients to go home.

According to Emmanuel Kofi Darko, the families of his clients are worried about their situation in Ghana.

Emmanuel claimed the families of the accused persons have continuously been lamenting overseas.

He prayed the court to review the bail conditions to enable his clients travel back to Russia and return when the prosecution begins its case.

This was after the prosecutor DSP Cletus Abadanlowra had prayed the court to adjourn the case.

It would be recalled that the court on June 14 2017 granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of GH¢200,000 with one surety, who must be a Ghanaian.

They were ordered to deposit their passports at the court registry.

As part of the bail conditions, they were also ordered to report to the police every two weeks.

The accused persons on or about May 22, this year at Manso- Tontokrom in the Amansie Circuit of the Ashanti Region, conspired to undertake small-scale mining without authority.

DSP Abadanlowra said the complainant in the case is a police officer attached to the Lands and Forestry Ministry while the accused persons are from Russia and Ukraine and reside at Tontokrom in the Ashanti Region.

The Minister of Lands and Forestry, John Peter Amewu, recently gave an ultimatum to small-scale mining companies and illegal miners, popularly known as galamsayers, operating in the country to stop their activities till the regulation of their operations.

The government subsequently banned all forms of small-scale mining in the country till further notice.

On May 22, Mr Amewu and a team, including the complainant, went on a fact-finding tour at Manso Tontokrom to ensure that the ban was being complied and met the accused persons busily engaged in illegal mining (galamsey).

They used heavy-duty equipment to degrade a vast land, nearby destroying crops and cocoa farms of the inhabitants.

They also polluted their source of drinking water.

The accused persons stated that they were employees of Geo Professional Services (GPS), a mining company.

Source: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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