The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has reiterated that the President Akufo-Addo led government is committed to bringing Aisha Huang and other persons who are involved in illegal mining to face the full rigorous of Ghana’s laws.
In an interview with the media after proceedings in court yesterday, he indicated that one of the key pillars on which the Ministry is seeking to deal with the issue of illegal small-scale mining is law enforcement and prosecution, particularly as it relates to foreigners.
He added that the Attorney-General himself is leading in prosecuting the case in a spirited and enthusiastic manner, while his Ministry is focused on reforms with full commitment.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, told the Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, that the state would file eight witness statements in the trial of galamsey kingpin Aisha Huang.
Mr Yeboah Dame also said while he initially filed four witness statements, the state will withdraw same and file a fresh set of eight witness statements.
Subsequently, the Attorney-General prayed the court to adjourn sitting to allow his office the time and space to file the documents as suggested.
The prosecutor, Detective Chief Inspector Frederick Sarpong, told the court that Aisha had previously escaped prosecution in Accra when she was arrested.
According to him, Aisha returned to China and changed her identity, only to come back to the country to commit the same crime for which she had escaped prosecution earlier.
Inspector Sarpong said the accused person applied for a Togolese visa, and entered Ghana through its border with Togo and back to the galamsey business in a town in the Ashanti Region.
The three others with her, according to the prosecutor, sold mining equipment and dealt in gold in Accra, without a valid licence.
They were arrested upon intelligence by the National Security.
The accused person is charged with four counts. The first count is “undertaking a mining operation without a licence contrary to Section 99(2)(a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, Act 995”.
In addition, she has been charged with facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation contrary to Section 99 (2)(a) & (3) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, Act 995.
Similarly, she was engaged in Illegal employment of foreign nationals, contrary to section 24 of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) and finally entered Ghana while prohibited from re-entry contrary to Section 20(4) of the Immigration Act, 2000, Act 573.
Accomplices denied bail
Four persons who are alleged to be accomplices of the popular galamsey kingpin Aisha Huang were denied bail.
The High Court subsequently ordered the accused persons to be remanded into prison custom pending the outcome of their trial.
The four include three Chinese nationals and a Vietnamese whose permit to stay in Ghana is said to have expired.
The accused persons are Chinese nationals Shi Yang alias Philip, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi and Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, a Vietnamese national.
The three Chinese accused persons have been charged with engaging in small scale-mining mining without a licence, contrary to Section 99(2) (a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) as amended by Act 995 of 2019.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, the Vietnamese national, has been charged with the offence of remaining in Ghana after the expiration of a permit contrary to Sections 20(1) and 52(1)(d) of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
The plea of the three Chinese nationals was taken and they all pleaded not guilty. However, that of the fourth accused person, Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen, the Vietnamese national, was not taken because of language difficulties.
The court ordered the Institute of Languages at the University of Ghana to furnish it with an officer who can speak Vietnamese to assist the court in taking the plea of the fourth accused person.
The case has been adjourned to Tuesday November 1, 2022, to take the plea of the fourth accused person and to commence case management conference.