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Aisha Huang speaks fluent Twi, English – GIS officer tells court

It has emerged at the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court that Chinese Galamsey kingpin, Aisha Huang speaks fluent Twi and English.

This according to Superintendent of Immigration, David Essien, led to Aisha Huang not requesting an interpreter or translator when she was interviewed by officers of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) in 2016 and 2017.

Supt. Essien, who has testified as the second prosecution witness in the ongoing trial in which the Chinese Galamsey queen has pleaded not guilty to four charges including engaging in illegal mining in the Ashanti Region.

On his first appearance in court on Monday, November 14, Supt Essien, told the court in his Evidence-in-Chief that, his investigations into her activities revealed she had used a forged marriage certificate and passport to obtain a residence permit.

Responding to questions from Defence lawyers led by Captain Nkrabea Effah Dartey during Cross-Examination on whether there was an interpreter or translator when he was taking the statement of Aisha Huang, the witness said no but offered an explanation.
 
“When I was taking the statements there was no interpreter. Before that, I am the same person that delivered the invitation letter to the accused (Aisha Huang). And on the point of delivery, I had a one-on-one interaction with the accused and we spoke in English,” the witness explained.
 
“My Lord, when she honoured the invitation, during the interview, we spoke in English and she responded in English and my lord she was very fluent in English. She even speaks fluent Twi. So my lord, at the point we were taking the statement, she didn’t give us any indication that she needed an interpreter. So, she understood all the information and appended her signature.” 
 
Asked by Lawyer Effah Dartey if he told the accused if that statement she was making may be used in court, the witness said, “My lord, I did not tell her the statement will be used in court” and explained that, “We invited her to ascertain her immigration status and also listen to her side of the story cornering the allegations made against her in the media publication concerning her illegal activities at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central.”
 
According to the Witness, “If you look at the statement we took in 2016 against the statement we took in 2017, you could see that the accused gave similar information. She gave us a background of herself which are similar to both statements. With regard to her activities at the mining site, she gave us similar information. All were said by the accused in English.”

I don’t understand English

Contrary to what the Witness had told the court, Aisha Huang through the Interpreter told the court that, she cannot read English and that she didn’t understand what was written in the statements.

But, the trial Judge, Justice Lydia Marfo, pointed out those are matters that will be dealt with by her lawyers and that, the issue did not bother her ability to read but what she told the investigators which were written.

Revocation of residency permit

Asked by counsel for the accused why it took the state three years to investigate and revoke Aisha Huang’s indefinite permission to stay in the country by the Comptroller General of the GIS after detecting that she had used forged documents to obtain them, Supt Essien said the level of a case depends on how long investigations can take.

“It is true that it took the service three years. You will bear with me that depending on the level of the case, investigations can take an hour, days years or decades for crimes to be detected. …That notwithstanding the service was able to detect the crime. That is the most important thing.”

He however added that “the officer who undertook the investigations, at our Accra headquarters will come to this court and give further clarification on this matter”
Illegal mining
 
When it was pointed to him that, he did not know for a fact that Aisha Huang was engaged in illegal mining operations, the witness disagreed.
 
“I have facts about the accused person’s Involvement in mining. My lord when I encountered her, we took statements from her. In those two statements, she mentioned that she rents excavator machines to Egyir Mining Company which has a mining concession at Bepotenten,” he added.
 
“My lord investigations followed and as a result, I was tasked to invite one of the directors of Egyiri Mining who is in the person of Coxton Ahinkan Egyir. The said director honoured our invitation and a caution statement was taken from him on May 19, 2017.” 
 
Aisha Huang’s mother?
 
According to the witness, “in the said statement, Mr Egyir said he has known the accused for three years and the accused use to mine on a concession that shares boundary with their small scale mining concession” and that, “Mr. Egyir further indicated that their company is Egyir mining company has not entered into any agreement of renting excavator machines as claimed by the accused.”
 
There was controversy when the witness added, “Rather, the accused person’s (Aisha Huang’s) mother who is also a director of the company leased three acres of their concession for the accused to mine, out of which the accused has failed to pay them as promised.” 
 
The Witness said, “When the media publication came to my attention, we continued with our investigations and mounted surveillance on the accused. Until our Obuasi team intercepted four employees of the accused. When the arresting officers brought the employees, the accompanying report indicated that they were sent to the site to mine for the accused. According to the report, it was Gao Jin Chen who mentioned this to our Obuasi team.”
 
 
Supt. Essien added that “Even before the arrival of our Obuasi team, the accused surfaced to enquire whether her employees who she had sent to Bepotenten had arrived,” and that “When she realized they were not in, she left.”
 
“When I intervened the intercepted employees, their leader Gao Jin Chen who could speak broken English, told me the accused sent them to mine and that their passports were with her.
I was tasked to invite the accused. She came to the office and provided two passports of the four employees, together with her passports,” the witness told the court. 
 
Supt. Essien said, “This piece of information and evidence confirm that the accused is involved in illegal mining activities. And that was why she faces trial in 2018.”
 
Butcher
 
When it was suggested to him that, he was not being a truthful witness, Supt. Essien disagreed saying, “My lord it’s a lie. I am speaking the truth.”  
 
Again when counsel suggested to him that, he had come to court with one objective to “butcher the accused, with serious of inconsistencies” he said, “My lord that is not true.”
 
“I am only here to give evidence on what actually happened during my encounter with the accused when I was stationed as an enforcement officer in Kumasi 
 
Asked to tell the court if he was an enforcement officer or immigration officer when he conducted the investigation earlier he said, “I am an investigator under the enforcement unit of Ghana Immigration Service.” 
 
According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, Supt David Essien has been discharged with the prosecution ordered to call its third witness.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
 
Charges
 
Count 1: Undertaking a mining operation without a licence contrary to section 99(2)(a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, Act 995.

Count 2: Facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation contrary to section 99 (2)(a) & (3) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, Act 995.

Count 3: Illegal employment of foreign nationals contrary to section 24 of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

Count 4: Entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry contrary to section 20(4) of the Immigration Act, 2000, Act 573.

Source:Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5/Murtala Inusah
 

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