Editorial: Where are the “Stolen” 21 Gold Bars Recovered from Shaanxi and Where are the Suspects?

Some of the 21 bars of gold retrieved from the Chinese company at the airport.

On June 1, 2021, three people said to be workers of Shaanxi Mining Company, a Chinese firm now referred to as Earl International Group (Ghana) Gold Limited, were arrested and detained by the National Security Secretariat (NSS) over the movement of 21 gold bars from Talensi, a district in the Upper East region, to Ghana’s capital, Accra.

As of that time, the 21 gold bars reportedly weighed 83 kilogrammes and were said to be valued at about $600,000.

The said value currently is equivalent to about seven million, six hundred and ninety-eight thousand, seven hundred and fifty-six Ghana cedis (Gh¢7,698,756).

Shaanxi’s yard in Talensi.

The three people— Rayn Lee (a Chinese), Goa (a Chinese) and Michael Atta (a Ghanaian)— were arrested at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) after the Managing Director of Yenyeya Small-Scale Mining Group, Charles Taleog Ndanbon, sounded the alarm that the company was moving the gold bars to Accra with the intention of sneaking them out to Dubai.

The three members of the company’s staff.

Ndanbon had invited the Asian company from China in 2008 to render a technical support service to his small-scale mining business. And he had hosted the Chinese in Talensi from that time until his Asian guests announced early in 2021 their intention to go solo into a large-scale mining operation.

The foreign company acquired a 16.02 sq.km parcel of land, about the size of 4,000 standard football fields put together, for the large-scale business. The 16.02 sq.km. area covers Ndanbon’s 25-acre concession and several other licensed concessions that belong to other Ghanaian small-scale miners in the district.

Kotoka International Airport, Accra.

The Chinese company’s action left Ndanbon very upset because it reportedly breached the original agreement the two parties had signed and subsequently put a serious strain on their relations.

Charles Taleog Ndanbon.

While the three suspects were in detention with the 21 gold bars confiscated by the NSS, Ndanbon’s lawyer, Juliet Dale Agboh, anticipated that they would be brought to trial.

“These are Chinese who invaded the concession of a small-scale miner, mined illegally in contravention of Ghanaian laws and they were caught lifting gold to sell outside Ghana.

“Now that they are in custody, my client will cooperate with the NSS and we hope that they will be charged appropriately after the investigations and prosecuted for the illegalities committed,” she told journalists in June, 2021.

When questioned by the press, the company, in defence, said the gold bars were only being transported to Accra for sale to sustain its mining operations.

Shaanxi officials inside the company’s yard in Talensi.

Almost three years since the suspects were arrested and the $600,000 in 21 gold bars were retrieved or seized from them by the State, the public does not know the whereabouts of the 21 gold bars. The public also does not know if the suspects have been put on trial by the State as widely expected.

Ghana’s Minister for National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah.

We expect a public statement to have been issued on any progress being made since June 2021 on such a matter of keen public interest as this.

Ghana’s Inspector-General of Police, George Akuffo Dampare.

It is very important for the public to know the whereabouts of the ‘missing gold bars’ because the people must know if the state institutions mandated to protect resources that belong to individuals, to groups or to the State are actually doing what is expected of them.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shaanxi/Earl International Group, Wei Xing.

The people must know if their interests and the interests of the State are in safe, trusted hands at all times.

Some of the bars of gold retrieved at the airport from Shaanxi, now called Earl International.

Ghanaians want to know: “Where are the gold bars and where are the suspects?”

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/Editorial/mwbonline.org


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