I wish I had the right to impose stiffer punishment on you – Judge to Aisha Huang

The judge who sentenced Aisha Huang, known as the Galamsey Kingpin, to four-and-a-half years in prison and a fine of GH¢48,000, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, had expressed a desire for a more severe sentence if she had the authority.

Justice Lydia Osei Marfo remarked that the crimes committed by Aisha Huang were serious and harmful to the State.
While delivering her ruling on Monday, December 4, she explained that the prosecution of the Chinese national was carried out under Act 900, which previously set a maximum penalty of five years for engaging in mining activities without a license.

She noted that the limitations of the Act prevented her from imposing a lengthier prison term.

“I wish I had the right to impose the punishment under the current law,” Justice Lydia Marfo noted before giving her sentence.

Meanwhile, under the new legal regime introduced by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, Act 995, Aisha Huang could have faced a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.

In November 2022, Aisha Huang faced charges on four counts; engaging in mining activities without a license, facilitating the operation of individuals in mining without a license, illegal employment of foreign nationals, and entering Ghana while prohibited.

She was reported to have re-entered Ghana through the Aflao border to engage in mining activities in October 2022, despite having been deported in 2018. The state had filed a nolle prosequi into similar charges at that time.

Throughout the over one-year trial, the Chinese illegal miner pleaded not guilty to all counts except the charge of entering Ghana while prohibited from doing so.

The state presented eleven witnesses, including farmers who testified to selling farmlands to the convict and witnessing her engaging in illegal mining on the lands. State prosecutors also produced video evidence demonstrating the level of devastation caused by Aisha Huang.

After carefully considering the evidence, the judge concluded that the “state has discharged its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Source: myjoyonline.com