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Court orders prosecutor to give evidence of death, cremation of Chinese illegal miners

Magistrate Eric Baah Boateng of the Sefwi Wiawso District Court has ordered Chief Inspector George Asante Noye, the prosecutor handling the case of 10 individuals arrested for illegal mining in the Krokosua Hills Forest Reserve to produce documentary evidence of the death and subsequent cremation of two of the Chinese nationals.

File photo: The Doms, a group belonging to a Hindu caste, earn their living by running the cremation pyres and maintaining the source fire that is used to light all of the pyres.

The case, which dates back to December 12, 2023, saw the apprehension of 10 suspects, including four Chinese nationals and six Ghanaians. Among the Chinese nationals were Men Shi Yu, Weng Yong Cheng, Wen FU Lin, and Lee Pin, while the Ghanaians included individuals such as Edward Owusu, Kwesi Frank, Abudu Dramani, and Joe Nabur. Notably, the arrest also involved two Ghanaian police officers, Detective Sergeant Yahaya Andrews, and Lance Corporal Azantillow.

Following due process, the suspects were brought before the court on multiple occasions. However, during the third sitting on March 15, 2024, only the Ghanaian suspects, including the two policemen, were present. The absence of the four Chinese nationals prompted Magistrate Eric Baah Boateng to inquire about their whereabouts.

In response to the Magistrate's inquiry, Prosecutor George Asante Noye informed the court that two of the Chinese nationals had passed away and were subsequently cremated. However, in light of this revelation, Magistrate Boateng deemed it necessary for the prosecutor to provide tangible proof of the reported deaths and cremations.

Therefore, the Magistrate ordered the Prosecutor to ensure that the sureties for the four Chinese nationals appear in court during the next sitting, scheduled for April 15, 2024, to present documentary evidence corroborating the reported deaths and cremations. This directive underscores the court's commitment to thorough examination and adherence to legal procedures in the pursuit of justice.

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Moreover, recognizing the complexity of the case and its broader implications, Magistrate Eric Baah Boateng has forwarded the matter to the Attorney General's Department in Takoradi for expert advice. This decision reflects the gravity of the charges and the necessity for expert legal opinion in navigating the intricacies of the case.

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