Aisha Huang: We shouldn’t be seen as targeting only foreigners – Kwabena Donkor

The Member of Parliament for Pru East, Dr Kwabena Donkor, has called for the prosecution of the accomplices of galamsey kingpin Aisha Huang after her sentencing on Monday.

According to the MP, Aisha Huang did not work alone but had people mining illegally with her. These people, he said, also need to face the law.

“She had accomplices either in officialdom or the boys on the streets. What has happened to them? So we should not be seen to be only targeting foreigners. We should deal with all those who were involved in that crime,” Dr Donkor said.

“If we do that, no country can come and say, why are you jailing our citizens? Because your citizens were part of a syndicate,” he added.He explained that all the political bigwigs who have been involved in galamsey and their accomplices must also face the law to serve as a deterrent and aid in the fight against illegal mining.

On Monday, December 4, an Accra High Court convicted Aisha Huang of mining offences. The ‘galamsey queen’ was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison in addition to a fine of GH₵48,000.

The Chinese national, also known as En Huang, was standing trial for undertaking a mining operation without a licence, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in mining operations, the illegal employment of foreigners and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry.

However, her sentence has been met with dissatisfaction from stakeholders and a section of the general public.

To some, the punishment is undeserving, considering the extent of damage the ‘galamsey’ queen’s operations did to the country’s vegetation cover.

A Deputy Attorney General, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, clarifying the reasons behind the relatively lenient prison term and fine, said that Aisha Huang was prosecuted for her involvement in illegal mining operations between 2015 and 2017, by which time the amended law had not been passed.

The Deputy Attorney General on Tuesday emphasised that there was no evidence of her engagement in illegal mining after her return to Ghana in 2022, following her initial deportation in 2018.

He noted that since the Chinese national committed the crimes under the old law, the judge adhered to the maximum punishment stipulated by the previous legislation.

“If you have a new law that has reduced the punishment under the old law, use it. But if the old law is lesser than the new law, use the old law; that is the law,” Tuah-Yeboah explained.

But speaking on Newsfile, Dr Donkor said he understood the calls for harsher punishments when it comes to galamsey cases; explaining that “in 2015, the level of galamsey and the damage of galamsey is not what it is today. And therefore it is only right that having seen the increasing level of galamsey and destruction of galamsey, we review our laws.”

Meanwhile, following the concerns, the AG, Godfred Dame issued a statement on Tuesday, December 5, declaring his intention to appeal the ruling to demand stiffer sanctions.

He concurred with critics who argued that the four-and-a-half-year prison term and GH₵48,000 fine handed to the Chinese national did not align with the gravity of her actions under Act 995.