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General News of Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Russian, Ukrainian 'galamseyers' trial to start on October 12

An Accra Circuit Court has fixed October 12 to start hearing the case of four foreign nationals who were arrested at Manso-Tontokrom for their involvement in illegal mining in the Ashanti Region.

The four who are of Russian and Ukrainian origins have been charged with conspiracy to undertaking small scale mining without license and undertaking small scale mining without license.

They are Farid Isaev, Vadim Potokia, Saerhii Chepurniy all engineers and Genadiy Rubee, a Site Engineer of Geo Professional Services, a Mining company.

They have denied the charges and are on bail in the sum of GH¢200,000.00 with one surety who must be a Ghanaian.

The trial Judge, Mr Aboagye Tandoh has warned the Police not to fail on the date fixed, since the court would certainly hear the matter.

Prosecuting Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Cletus K. Abadamlora said they were in court to take a date to commence hearing.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel Mr Emmanuel Kofi Darko has prayed the court to vary the bail condition of the accused persons so they could travel to see their families who were worried over their plight.

DSP Abadamlora said the complainant is a Police officer attached to the Lands and Forestry Ministry whiles accused were foreigners from Russia and Ukraine but residents in country precisely Tontokrom in the Ashanti Region.

DSP Abadamlora said the Ministry of Lands and Forestry recently gave an ultimatum to all small scale mining companies and illegal miners popularly known as “galamseyers” operating in the country to stop until their activities were regulated.

Prosecution said government thus banned any form of small scale mining until further notice.

On May 22, this year, the sector Minister Mr John Peter Amewu and a team including complainant went on a fact finding mission to ensure that the ban was being complied with at Manso Tontokrom.

On their arrival, DSP Abadamlora said they met the accused persons busily engaged in illegal mining.

The accused persons were using heavy equipment which had destroyed vast land including cocoa farms of the inhabitants and polluted their source of water.

When the accused persons were questioned, they said they were employees of Geo Professional Services, a Mining company.