The Consular of Niger Embassy in Ghana ,Iron M’oussa has visited the 29 foreigners standing trial in Koforidua Circuit Court for illegally mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve. The Consular visited the Regional Police Criminal Investigation department at the Police headquarters and subsequently under permission ,visited the Koforidua Prisons where 29 accused persons are on remand, to established their true nationality .
This was made known by Sargent Martin Benson Gyamfi, a CID officer investigating the case when he mounted the witness box on Monday .
According to the Witness, it is upon the visit of the Consular of Niger that, the real nationality of the suspects were established contrary to initial assertion of the suspects with regards to their identity.
He said out of the 29 accused persons, 25 were identified to be Nigeriens,with the four others ,Amadua Basar ,Bubu Jata – Karim Sibir, Mama Kete , from Togo, Burkina Faso,Mali and Guinea Conakry respectively .
The Prosecution witness tendered in pictures and Videos captured by the Operation team during the arrest as exhibits which were shown in even though Lawyer for the accused persons raised objection against the exhibits doubting its credibility but it was overruled .
The Case has adjourned to 23rd, 30th, march,2017.
Lawyer for the accused persons at the previous hearing on February 20,2017 told court that ,his clients traveled all the way from their countries to hunt for game refuting Charges of illegal mining in the forest reserve argued that ,it is absolute incorrect for his clients to be accused of engaging in illegal mining in the Atiwa Forest reserve hence the exhibits which are axe ,sophisticated computerized equipment use to detect gold, and other portable equipment tendered in as evidence retrieved from the 29 accused persons in the forest does not belong to the accused persons adding that,most of the accused persons arrested in the bush were just asleep in the crime scene of the forest hence not caught red handed.
The 29 accused persons were arrested on January 26 ,2017 at the Atewa Forest reserve in the Eastern region of Ghana for allegedly mining are ;Mohammed Omar, Mohammed Haruna, Amadu Basar, Dauda Zinjima ,Amar Mohamed, Kassin Bramah, Mahamudu Arubakari and Sitah Zibo.
The others are Hamidu Amadu, Musah Iddrisu, Munkaila Bomboro , Omaru Sulemana ,Addul M. Hudu, Zibo Alibu,Haruna Mumuni, Abdulai K. Kibo, Bukari Musah, Musah Ahmed and Sulley Aadum.
The rest are Munkaila Salifu, Yakuba Adamu, Yao Denay, Fuseini Amadu, Gubar Jatah, Barim Sribil, Hamza Gudiah Nameh Keita and Jibril Amidu.
Each of the accused persons is facing three counts of conspiracy to mine without license, mining without license and trespass of forest reserve .
They have however pleaded not guilty.
Today March 21,2017 is International day of forest .A day set aside by UN to create awareness about the importance of forest hence the need for reservation.The rate of deforestation in Ghana is estimated to be one of the highest in Ghana.