Five Chinese nationals and their Ghanaian counterparts, who have been arrested over their alleged involvement in illegal mining, have been remanded to police custody.
The Chinese suspects are Dong Cheng, 30; Hung Jian, 51; Ning Guorui, 42; Yin Biquiang, 46 and Li Zilong, 44.
A Sekondi High Court has set April 10 for re-appearance.
Prior to remanding them, a magistrate court had thrown out the case citing lack of jurisdiction over it. The Chinese were arrested for illegally mining on the Ankobra River in the Western region of Ghana.
According to the magistrate judge, Susana Edufful, her court lacks the capacity to sit on the case.
A police spokesperson whose identity was not given told the Finder in Accra that the miners “claimed the proceeds realized from the illegal operations, had also been transferred to China, their home country, following the transaction with their counterpart”.
“They were busily mining gold in River Ankobra with impunity without any regard to environmental challenges, or legal requirements,” the police spokesperson added.
Clause two of the law criminalises the engagement of foreigners in small-scale mining operations and also makes it an offence for a Ghanaian to employ or engage a foreigner to undertake or participate in illegal small scale-mining activities.
Clause three of the law empowers the court to order the forfeiture to the state of any mineral extracted as a result of the offence, while clause four ensures strict liability for offences committed under the law.
The law also stipulates that, a person who sells or buys minerals without a licence granted or without valid authority commits an offence and is liable to a summary conviction to a fine of not more than 3,000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or to both.
Currently in Ghanaian law,a penalty unit is GH¢12 equivalent to about $3 depending on exchange rate
The law also explains that,a foreigner who undertakes small scale mining operations commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 30,000 penalty units and not more than 300,000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 20 years or both.
A Ghanaian who employs or engages a foreigner to illegally undertake or participate in small- mining scale in the country commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 17,000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years or to both.