The convener for the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining, Ken Ashigbey is demanding the prosecution of all foreign nationals who engage in illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
His demand comes on the back of the President’s declaration that the deportation of ‘galamsey’ queen, Aisha Huang was a mistake.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in responding to a question from a Ghanaian resident in the US at Princeton University forum, said the government’s decision to deport Chinese national, Aisha Huang who was facing prosecution for illegal mining operations was a mistake
Addressing the issue in a Citi News interview, Ken Ashigbey, though admitting that some locals are engaged in the act, argued that the prosecution of the foreign nationals will send a clear message of the government’s commitment to the fight against galamsey.
“The president has said that he acknowledges the fact that deporting Aisha Huang was not the best thing. So, we will now take steps to ensure that any foreigner who is arrested is prosecuted because till we deal with that, we cannot make head way in the fight against the menace,” he said.
“There are fundamentals to what happened. If you look at the percentages of those who are involved in it, the Chinese are a huge percentage and if they think that they can come and do these things and when anything happens, they will just be deported then we will reach nowhere,” he added.
He called on government to put in place sterner measures to help deal with foreign nationals.
“So, it is important that we will demonstrate to these people that when you come into our land and then you engage in these things, the laws have been amended, the functions have been made stricter and you will go through the full rigours of the law. You will be punished and jailed before you will be deported from the country,” he said.
She had been charged with three counts of undertaking small-scale mining operations, contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703); providing mining support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission, contrary to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), and the illegal employment of foreign nationals, contrary to the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
During the prosecution, the government discontinued the case and deported her in December 2018.