Legal practitioner Ace Ankomah says Ghana lost the fight against galamsey the day Aisha Huang was deported in 2018 instead of being prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Speaking on Citi TV’s ‘Point of View’, Ankomah said Huang should have been prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others engaging in illegal mining/galamsey.
However, she was deported due to diplomatic considerations and that, in Ankomah’s estimation, completely handicapped the fight against galamsey.
“They allowed her to go. Today, she is back because we did not jail her. We did not even give the court the opportunity to free her. The day we let her go was the day we lost the fight against galamsey.” the leading member of Occupy Ghana said.
He added that Ghana has to change the law surrounding mining activities.
“Our law says if someone mines our gold, the government takes ten percent. It is time to change the law.” he added.
Aisha Huang re-arrested
Powerful Chinese national Aisha Huang, known in the Ghanaian media as the ‘galamsey queen’, has reportedly been re-arrested and arraigned before the Accra Circuit Court.
The court has remanded Aisha into with the case set to be resumed on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022.
The case was adjourned following the unavailability of translators to aid communication with Ms Huang and three other suspects.
Aisha Huang was arrested alongside three other suspects in 2017, charged with undertaking small-scale mining operations contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), providing mine support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission contrary to Section 59 and 99 (2) of the Minerals and Mining Act; and also charged with illegal employment of foreign nationals (in breach of section 24 of the Immigration Act and regulation 18 of the Immigration Regulations).
After her initial arrest, she was deported in 2018 and the case against her was discontinued at the time due to diplomatic reasons.
Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo justified her deportation at the time.
“Putting [Aisha Huang] in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your money problem. It is not going to make you happy or me happy,” he said.
“We have a very good relationship with China. The main company that is helping develop the infrastructure system in Ghana is Sinohydro; it is a Chinese Company. It is the one that is going to help process our bauxite and provide about $2 billion to us. So when there are these kinds of arrangements, there are other things behind the scenes. There are many other things beyond what we see in these matters, and everybody is wide awake. The most important thing is that we established regulations and we are protecting our environment. That is far more important than one Chinese woman who has been deported back to her country,” Maafo added.