Click to read all about coronavirus →
The Media Coalition against illegal small-scale mining wants the government to explain the factors accounting for the deportation of Chinese national at the heart of illegal mining in Ghana, Aisha Huang.
Nicknamed as the “galamsey queen”, Aisha, who was arraigned in Ghana in 2017 for engaging in illegal small-scale mining at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region, was later deported in December 2018 by the government.
Her prosecution was halted by state prosecutors when they filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the case.
Speaking at town hall meeting abroad when he was addressing the issue of illegal mining by Chinese nationals and why Aisha Huang, who was arrested in Ghana along with four other Chinese for such related offences, was left off the hook and only deported, Senior Minister Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo said: “Putting that lady [Aisha Huang ] in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your economic problems. It is not going to make you or me happy, that’s not important.
“We have a very good relationship with China. Today, 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 two billion dollars to us."
"So, when there are these kinds of arrangements, there are other things behind the scenes. 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 from Ghana..."
"...I am saying that there are many other things beyond what we see in these matters and everybody is wide awake, the most important thing is that we have banned this, we have established regulations and we are protecting our environment. That is far more important than one Chinese woman who has been deported out of the country".
Mr Osafo-Maafo’s comment was condemned by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to fire him.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Thursday, 25 April 2019, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Kweku Asomah-Cheremeh clarified that the discontinuation of the said case has nothing to do with the government’s request for a $2 billion Synohydro deal from the Chinese government.
He noted that Aisha Huang was just one of several foreigners deported from the country in the fight against illegal small-scale mining.
However, speaking to Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on 505 on Class91.FM, Convener for Media Coalition against illegal mining, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey called on the government to give better explanation for not prosecuting the galamsey queen.
He said: “In the hierarchy of leadership, the Senior Minister will definitely rank higher than the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and so it will have been good for the Minister for Lands to actually deal with what it is that the Senior Minister said and state what the government position is on the statement that the Senior Minister said and to have left that unanswered is not good enough.
“So, justifying it and saying it is not only Aisha Huang that has been deported does not even correct the challenge we have with not punishing foreigners who are involved in this, while we have Ghanaians who are still languishing in jail for same offence. So, it really does not solve the problem and we really need to deal with anything that is affecting this fight and one of the challenges has been the justice delivery system which even His Excellency the President has had occasion to complain about.”
Send your news stories to and via WhatsApp on +233 55 2699 625.