The sixth prosecution witness in the trial of Aisha Huang has testified that he sold his farmland close to River Offin to the accused person for mining.
Being led in evidence by the prosecution led by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the witness, Peter Amenya, told the trial Court that Aisha Huang, through James Ogbey, informed him and his brother-in-law that he was interested in purchasing the farmland for her mining business.
“Aisha then sent a surveyor, whose name I do not know, accompanied by James Ogbey to my farm to take measurements of the land,” he said in his evidence-in-chief, which was read in open court yesterday.
Ms Huang has been charged with undertaking a mining operation without a licence, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, the illegal employment of foreigners and entering Ghana while she had been prohibited from re-entry.
After negotiating the price, the witness in his testimony said, Mr Ogbey called the accused person and told her about the size of the land and the price they had agreed on.
He further told the court that the two parties agreed on GH¢ 8,000 per an acre of land, adding: “She asked Obey to bring us to her mining site which was nearby”.
In total, Mr Amenya said he was to be paid GH¢ 22,000 for his two and a half acres of farm.
The accused, he said, gave him an amount of GH¢1,000 as part payment to show her commitment to the purchase of the farmland, adding that the payment was made through Ogbey.
“Two to three weeks after the initial part-payment of GH¢1,000 to me, Mr Ogbey called me to his house and paid me an additional amount of GH¢ 5,000 on behalf of Aisha with the promise that I would be paid the outstanding balance within a short period.
“Prior to the receipt of the GH¢ 5,000, the accused person had cleared everything on my farmland with excavators for mining purposes,” he said.
The witness added that he later heard that Huang had been arrested for indulging in illegal mining and had been deported to China.
Mr Amenya, however, added that since the arrest, nobody had come forward to pay the outstanding amount owed him, together with other farmers.
During cross-examination, counsel for the accused, Miracle Attachey, asked whether all payments regarding the land were made by James Ogbey.
The witness replied in the affirmative.
He also admitted under cross-examination that he dealt with Mr Ogbey throughout the transaction.
En Huang has been accused of being deeply involved in illegal mining, commonly called galamsey, especially in the Ashanti Region.
She was deported from the country in 2018 after the state decided to discontinue her trial, in which she was accused of engaging in small-scale mining without a licence.
However, she was said to have sneaked back into the country to allegedly engage in the same activities.
The Attorney-General, then, decided to prosecute her for the alleged crimes before her deportation and new ones committed since her return to the country.
It is the case of the prosecution that Huang had an illegal mining concession at Bepotenten in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region and also operated a mining support services company.
She has denied the charges levelled against her and has since been remanded in police custody.