The police prosecution team has finally succeeded in convincing the Koforidua Circuit Court to remand alleged National Security operatives, after earlier rejection by a Kaneshie District Court on Monday, May 10.
The accused persons have been slapped with two counts of conspiracy to commit crime, namely, conducting reconnaissance for mines mineral without lawful authority, contrary to section 23(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29), and section 106 of the minerals and mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
They were arraigned before the court, presided over by Mrs Mercy Kotey, on Tuesday, May 11. The leader of the police prosecution team, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sylvester Asare, said the accused persons were rescued from an angry youth at Akenteng in the Eastern Region.
According to facts he presented before the court, the National Security Secretariat, somewhere in January this year, picked up intelligence that the accused persons paraded themselves as personnel of National Security to harass mining towns and villages in the Ashanti and Eastern regions.
He said the accused persons do this by intimidating the locals with weapons and/or rifles to enable them have a field day of conducting illegal mining activities in those communities.
The National Security Secretariat, upon information gathered on the accused persons, dispatched a team to the Akenteng Forest Reserve, where they ended up rescuing them from the agitated youth who were resisting their presence in their community, while allegedly digging the forest reserve for gold.
ASP Asare said preliminary investigation conducted indicated that the accused persons were not National Security personnel as they have ascribed to themselves, meanwhile, they have used it, not only to undertake illegal mining activities, but also to threaten, demand, and seize unspecified kilos of gold, as well as extorting money from unsuspecting illegal miners.
He also said the firearms such as one Tudor shotgun, one BAD shotgun, two pump-action guns, one assault rifle with 10 rounds of ammunitions, and one cougar pistol were allegedly retrieved from the accused persons.
Other items said to have been retrieved from the accused persons are 12 gota headsets, three handcuffs, four shovels, an electric shocker, pickaxe, bag of sand suspected to be gold dust, and other related materials.
The prosecutor also indicated that the accused persons have claimed ownership of the firearms and the items retrieved from the scene.