Atewa Mining: ‘Fake’ National Security operatives granted bail

More than thirty individuals, supposedly fake National Security operatives, arrested for illegal mining at the Atewa Forest, have been granted bail by the Koforidua Circuit Court.

The 32 accused persons, who on two occasions were denied bail, were given a GHC350,000 bail sum on June 8, 2021, with two sureties.

The accused persons broke into the popular gospel tune “Yɛ da wo’ase. Yɛ yi wo’ayɛ, Ɔhenekɛse. Hallelujah“, on hearing Judge Mercy Adei Kotei’s ruling on their bail application.

Some were also captured chanting: “Who say man no dey?”.

Family members of the accused persons, who had thronged the court premises joined in the celebration, thankful for the hurdle their relatives had overcome.

An Assistant State Attorney, Dickson Donkor, did not oppose the bail application but informed the court of a substituted charge sheet.

The 32 accused persons are George Asante, Kwaku Frimpong, Alfred Kyei, Yaw Opoku, Richard Nartey, Paul Osei Kuffour, Dominic Beblie, Samuel Kofi Edusei, Silas Boakye Gyan, Joseph Oduro Asare,

The others are Mukaila Attah, Stephen Opoku, Michael Quansah, Derrick Adu Kwakye, Razark Suleman, Stephen Kofi Felan, Dominic Ghansah, Robert Nartey Tetteh, Eric Addei, Yakubu Mohammed.

The rest are Benlord Ababio, Adam Dakurugu, Kwame Isaac, Joe Acquah, Emmanuel Arhin, Samuel Asiedu Gyamfra, David Akakpo, Ebenezer Boateng, Joseph Kwaku Gyqmfi, Fuseini Alhassan, Alhassan Asibi and Gabriel Dormate.

They have been charged provisionally with possession of firearms without lawful excuse.

Facts

The facts presented in court said the accused are a group of persons who carried themselves as operatives of National Security.

The security agencies had picked information that the accused persons, armed with weapons and riffles, were undertaking illegal mining under the guise of having been charged by the authorities at the National Security.

The accused reportedly took their guise to the extreme, harassing natives in and around Atewa.

Upon receipt of a tipoff, a team of actual officers from the National Security secretariat were dispatched to the area to ascertain the facts.

Together with a group of police officers from the Eastern Regional Police Command, the officers proceeded to the Akenteng portion of the Atewa forest reserve near Osinease, where the team met and rescued the accused persons from an angry youth at Akenteng.

Per police investigations, the accused persons as part of their unlawful activities threatened, demanded and seized an unspecified kilo of gold and huge sums of money from certain small scale miners (Galamsey) in the name of the National Security.

The accused persons then confessed that they were not officers of the National Security as they had earlier alleged. They, however, claimed ownership of the weapons retrieved.

According to the prosecution, the accused persons explained that they were in the forest to undertake reconnaissance.

Exhibits retrieved from the accused persons include a Tudor short gun, pump-action gun, two bad short guns, assault rifles and 10 rounds of ammunition, as well as a cougar pistol.

The team also retrieved 12 Gotta handsets, three handcuffs, four shovels and a taser. The case has been adjourned to July 7, 2021.

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