Stakeholders in the minerals extraction sector say mere words are not enough in the bid to fight illegal small-scale mining in the country.
Convenor for the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining says government must demonstrate its will by seeing through the prosecution of persons, especially, foreign nationals who are found culpable.
Kenneth Ashigbey’s charge follows fresh assurances from the Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor that notorious ‘galamsey’ kingpin, Aisha Huang will be jailed in Ghana if found culpable.
“She is being prosecuted and she will be prosecuted under Ghanaian law in Ghanaian court if she is found guilty which I believe she should be found and I think I am not making prejudicial comments but I am saying that given the fact that I have, I am expecting that Aisha Huang will be found guilty, convicted and sentenced and thrown into Ghanaian jail,” he said.
But Mr Ashigbey is yet to be convinced as he indicates the need to translate the rhetorics into action.
“We have heard the President speak and now we’re hearing the sector Minister speak. We’re not going to take their word for it,” he said on Behind The News program on Radio Ghana.
The Chinese national who is set to reappear in court on September 27 was accused of engaging in mining without a license after she was re-arrested in Ghana some weeks ago.
This was after she was deported back in 2018 over a similar incident.
Though the nature of her exit is still being debated, the Attorney General has already communicated his support to see the prosecution through.
This stance has been backed by President Akufo-Addo at the just-ended Ghana Bar Association Conference in Ho.
“I expect if they are found guilty, that the courts will apply the full vigour of the new amended Act 995, which has increased substantially the punishment for breaches of the law,” he said.
But Ashigbey urged that pressmen are heavily involved at the court hearings regarding cases to ensure transparency in the process.
This according to him will aid the fight against illegal mining which is posing a threat to the country’s natural resources.
He also wants the bigwigs pulling the strings for such illegalities to be brought to book.