Government says any foreigner who is convicted for engaging in illegal mining will serve his or term before deportation.
This comes on the heels of the recent conviction of two Chinese and two Ghanaians for operating at a site in Patatwumso in the Western Region.
Meanwhile, the convicts are to pay fines or in default serve jail terms.
It would be recalled that the government in 2019 discontinued the famous Aisha Huang case.
At the time the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, at a town hall meeting in the US, suggested that Aisha Huang did not face the full rigours of the law for diplomatic reasons.
Apart from her, several Chinese nationals had been deported for engaging in illegal mining activities in the country.
Speaking on the latest conviction involving two Chinese nationals, the Deputy Land and Natural Resources Minister in Charge of Mining, George Mireku Duker, indicated that the newly enacted Act 995 of the Mineral laws has rectified such an anomaly.
“Per Act 995, you ae to serve your conviction before any determination of deportation is done. We seek to ensure that illegal foreigners face the rigours of the laws of the land before any deportation is done to deter others from doing same.”
The Minister also warned individuals engaged in similar acts to stop or face the law as ACT 995 of the Minerals and Mining Act is fully operational.
The Minerals and Mining Amendment Act, 2019
A non-Ghanaian who undertakes a mining operation or facilitates the participation of any person in mining contrary to a provision of this Act commits an offense and is liable on a conviction to
(a) a fine not leas than one hundred thousand penalty units and not more than three hundred and fifty thousand penalty units; and
(b) a term of imprisonment of not less than twenty years and not more than twenty-five years; or
(c) both the fine and imprisonment
Where a non-Ghanaian who is liable on summary conviction under subsection (3) is a person liable to deportation under section 35 of the immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573), that non-Ghanaian shall, where sentenced to a term of imprisonment, serve the full sentence before deportation in accordance with subsection (3) of section 37 of Act 573.
The Aisha Huang case
The Aisha Huang case had been one of the top stories in the country last year.
The Chinese national, commonly described by Ghanaians as the ‘galamsey queen’ was sent back to her country after state prosecutors dropped the trial against her and four other Chinese nationals for engaging in illegal mining activities in the country.
The decision to stop the trial was backed by some individuals including Secretary for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Charles Bissue, who claimed that decision saved the country a lot of money.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in recent times said that “I think the decision to deport Aisha Huang in hindsight was a mistake and that is why that process and procedure is being stopped.”
He said this at a forum at Princeton University during his visit to the United States of America.
Whereas others praised the President for being humble enough to accept that the decision was wrong, others like AROCHA Ghana, an environmental conservation organization described his comments as shocking and unfortunate.
Pressure group Occupy Ghana urged the government to change its approach in dealing with foreign nationals engaged in illegal mining.