Angry Judge Stops Bias Police Prosecution
…Vows Not To Try Ghanaian Accused Persons Unless Chinese Accomplice Is Arraigned
The Asante Bekwai Circuit Court in the Ashanti Region has refused to try two persons accused of illegal mining, popularly known as ‘Galamsey,’ without their accomplice.
The angry judge, presiding, threatened that he will discharge the accused persons if the prosecution fails to arraign the third accused person, a Chinese national, after he was arrested and granted police enquiry bail.
According to him, the prosecution has been selective and wondered why they will discriminate against their own citizens in the country of origin.
“You have been selective because one is white and the other is black,” he said.
He went on: “I will adjourn and take action, do not discriminate against Ghanaians and Chinese. If the Chinese had not hired the accused persons to assist, would they be arraigned? In this country of their own origin, you discriminate against them.”
“If you do not bring A3 (the third accused person- Yanbao), I won’t try the accused persons. I will discharge them,” the judge was quoted in a report by the Ghana News Agency.
William Boateng and Thompson Yomah were arrested and charged, together with Li Yanbao, their Chinese counterpart, but he was granted police enquiry bail and has since not been arraigned.
When the two men were arraigned in December 2022, the court ordered that the third accused person, who has been granted police enquiry bail, be brought before it, but that failed.
As a result, the court, presided over by Mr. Mark Tairimah Diboro, has, therefore, vowed not to try the two accused persons if the prosecution failed to arraign the Chinese.
He adjourned trial to May 10, 2023.
The comment by the judge has since put the police prosecution team in a tight corner.
Police Inspector Eric Okyere had earlier told the court that the accused persons were Boateng Williams, 26, an excavator operator, and Thompson Yomah, 24, an excavator operator apprentice.
They were arraigned for conspiracy, providing excavator for illegal mining and engaging in illegal mining at Manso Esiana, near Manso Antoakroaa.
Li Yanbao, 38, a miner, and their accomplice, has been charged with a non-Ghanaian undertaking illegal mining.
Briefing the court, the prosecution said Boateng was a resident of Atwima Bawku, Yomah lived at Manso Esiana, while Yanbao was residing in Kumasi.
The prosecution said there had been an upsurge in illegal mining activities lately within the jurisdiction at an alarming rate, destroying farmlands and forests, and polluting water bodies.
The Bekwai police, therefore, set up a unit to address the situation.
It said on December 28, 2022, at about 0840 hours, the Ashanti South Regional Police Patrol Team left for Esiana, upon information that the accused persons were engaged in illegal mining activities without a license, which led to the arrest of Boateng and Yomah and the excavator.
The court heard that the police team proceeded to another mining site at Antoakrom, where Yanbao was also arrested.
The prosecution said photographs of the scenes and the accused persons were taken for further investigations.
It said efforts were being made to track the excavator to the regional headquarters for action.