The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo has justified the government’s decision to discontinue the prosecution of a Chinese national, Aisha Huang, nicknamed ‘galamsey queen’ who was found to be openly engaged in illegal mining in the country and subsequently deported.
According to the minister who was addressing a townhall meeting in the United States, it was not important jailing Aisha Huang because of the bilateral relations Ghana has with China. He said what was more important was the ability of the government to broker the Sinohydro deal with China, which he said will boost the economic fortunes of the country.
“Putting that lady (Aisha) in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your economic problems. It is not going to make you happy or me happy, that’s not important, the most important thing is that she has been deported out of Ghana,”, he said.
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Aisha and four of her Chinese employees were arraigned before the court on May 9, 2017, for engaging in illegal small-scale mining at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region.
She was charged with three counts of undertaking small-scale mining operations, contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703); providing mining support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission, contrary to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), and the illegal employment of foreign nationals, contrary to the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
The other four accused persons were charged with disobedience of directives given by or under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
The state’s decision to discontinue the case much later saw the court discharge the five accused persons.
Aisha Huang and the four others were subsequently deported to China in what some Ghanaians said was a betrayal, especially as the government vowed to deal with illegal miners whose actions had destroyed the country’s land and water bodies.