MINISTER FOR Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has assured that illegal mining kingpin, En Huang aka Aisha Huang, would be sentenced to prison in Ghana if found guilty of the charges levelled against her.
According to him, this has been made possible by substantive legislative intervention that the government of President Akufo-Addo has put in place.
Aisha Huang could be sentenced to up to 20 years’ imprisonment in hard labour or a fine up to GH¢360,000, or both if found guilty of the charges levelled against her by the Office of the Attorney General.
Speaking on Citi TV’s Face to Face show, the minister, speaking about issues regarding Aisha Huang’s first arrest in 2017, said “the law relating to foreigners engaged in illegal small-scale mining was almost a misdemeanor.”
He said, “We had situations where a lot of these foreigners who were taken to court were acquitted. This was a matter that had to be looked at. Three or four days ago some foreigners were arrested and the challenge we faced was how to keep them. We were contemplating on whether to take them to the police, or immigration, so the National Security had to come in, but these are some of the complexities we have had to deal with.”
The Attorney General has filed four fresh charges against Aisha Huang, for undertaking illegal mining activities at Bepotenten in Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region without valid licence.
She has also been charged for illegally re-entering Ghana following her repatriation in 2018 when she was arrested in May 2017, and put on trial for a similar offence of illegal mining.
Among the four charges is the restoration of the charge of illegal employment of foreign nationals contrary to section 24 of the Immigration Act, 2000, Act 573, which was one of the charges she was facing during her first rial.
Aisha Huang and four accomplices were initially arrested on May 4, 2017, in the Ashanti Region after they allegedly engaged in illegal mining.
Her trial was however, discontinued after the Office of the Attorney General entered a nolle prosequi following a decision to deport her.
She, however, managed to re-enter Ghana this year and was able to obtain the Non-Citizen Ghana Card in February this year, a situation which had many Ghanaians questioning Ghana’s immigration policies and whether she was indeed deported in 2018.
She was re-arrested together with three other Chinese nationals on September 2, for continuing her illegal mining activity following her illegal re-entry into the country, and they have been remanded into prison custody by an Accra High Court.
Mr. Jinapor has assured that Aisha Huang, “If she is found guilty, which I am sure of, giving the facts that I have, I am expecting that she will be sentenced and thrown into Ghanaian jail.”
“That has been made possible because of the substantive legislative intervention that the government of Akufo-Addo has put in place. If we had not initiated the legal instrument, a judge would have had the discretion to fine. There’s nothing government could have done about it,” he added.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak