The Koforidua Circuit Court ‘B’ has acquitted and discharged the 29 accused foreign illegal miners who were standing trial for trespassing the Atewa forest.
The trial judge, Mercy Adei Kotei, on Monday ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that the manner in which the accused persons entered the forest reserve posed any threat to the protected area.
It however said a prima facie case has been established against the accused persons after the prosecution closed its case on counts of conspiracy to commit illegal mining ,Mining without license as a foreigners and mining without license as Ghanaians.
Before the close of the case, Lawyer for the accused persons at the previous hearing on February 20,2017, told court that his clients traveled from their countries to hunt for game, refuting Charges of illegal mining in the forest reserve. The lawyer further argued that it is incorrect for his clients to be accused of engaging in illegal mining in the Atiwa Forest reserve hence.
He challenged the exhibits including axe, sophisticated computerized equipment, used todetect gold, and other portable equipment which were being used by the prosecution.
The 29 accused persons were arrested on January 26 ,2017 in 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.
25 out of the accused persons are Nigeriens while the others are from Burkinafaso,Guinea Conakry ,Mali and Togo contrary to their initial claims .