The Ghana Chinese Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern about the occupation of Big Stone Mining – Company Limited, a wholly-owned Chinese company operating in Bogoso in the Western Region, by a group of policemen.
The action, according to the Attorney General and Director General of Legal and Prosecution at the Police Headquarters may drag the police admninistration before the court for contempt.
Describing the takeover as shocking, the Chamber said the occupation and driving away of the workers by the policemen when there was a pending legal matter over the shareholding of the company, flies in the face of the laws of Ghana.
The Chamber accused the plaintiff in a legal battle over the shareholding of the company, a certain Wan Shanghong, alias Magee, of using her political connections and colluding with the police to occupy the company site, a development that is causing the company to huge financial losses.
Consequently, the Chamber, has in a letter to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, called for action to restore normalcy.
Dated August 30, 2022, and signed by the President of the Chamber, Tang Hong, the Chamber stated: “The local judicial system should protect the basic rights of our Chinese companies and the personal safety of Chinese employees as well as the employment needs of the local employees.”
“We hope that the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, the Chief Justice and the Ghana Police Service can take the fairness and impartiality of the law as a criterion, crackdown on illegal acts and also give justice to business operators, and give confidence to investors in Ghana,” the letter which was copied to the Chief Justice, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) stated.
The Police Headquarters, had acting on a directive from the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to the IGP, directed the Western Regional Police Command on September, 1, 2022 to withdraw the men at the site but the directive is yet to be carried out.
A wireless message signed by the Director General, Police Legal and Prosecutions, Commissioner of Police (COP) Nathan Kofi Boakye said , “The Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice has written to the Police Administration that the ex-parte order obtained at the High Court Commercial Division on 28th July, 2022 has expired. Therefore, all the policemen deployed to the mining company consequent upon the order should be withdrawn immediately to avoid contempt proceedings against the police administration.”
Attorney General directives
On August 21, 2022, the Attorney General, in a letter to the IGP titled, “ Re-Petition for Redress in the Matter of Wan Shanghong, Yang Liu vrs Big Stone Mining Limited and 6 others”, said the office had received a request to stop the continuous abuse of the petitioners’ rights.
Analysing the legal dimensions of the petition vis-a-vis the pending suit, the Attorney General said the police presence at the site was purpotedly for the execution of a ruling on a civil suit by the High Court between the parties in the shareholding matter.
“Our examination of the ex-parte order dated 28th July, 2022 discloses that the order was essentially for the police to provide the applicants and the bailiff of the court with the necessary protection to peacefully serve the order for interlocutory injunction and execute same.
“It is imperative to note that even though the ex-parte order mandated the police to assist the bailiffs to serve and execute the order, the execution itself ought to be done within the premises of the High Court.”
The Attorney General further stated that, “the police in terms of the rules of court, are not permitted to be part of execution process.”
“It is our opinion that if the allegations contained in the petition are true, the action of the police constitute a clear infringement on the rights of the petitioners and an unjust interference in the administration of justice by the police service, “ the Attorney General’s letter signed by a Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah said.
In addition, the Attorney General said the police occupation of the factory had the tendency to undermine prosecutorial powers of the Attorney General in the criminal matter it is handling.
“This development has the potential to unnecessary bring the police service into disrepute,” the Attorney General stated.
On that score, the Attorney General advised the IGP to take prompt action to withdraw the police from the mining site, warning that failure to do so may lead to legal action against the state, which carried potential financial loss to the state.
Failed Extension Of Ex-parte
Meanwhile, our investigations have revealed that Ms Wan Shanghong attempted to collude with the police to extend the ex-parte order, which was for 10 days, but that had hit the rocks.
Additionally, the aggrieved party had warned that they would not hesitate to mention the names of the “big people” who are behind the illegal occupation of the factory, if the policemen failed to withdraw without any further delay.