Galamsey Kingpin Aisha Huang has been sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment after being found guilty of galamsey offenses.
She is also to pay a fine of GHc48,000 and would be deported to her home country China after serving her punishment.
The High Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo convicted Aisha Huang on three counts of – undertaking a mining operation without a license (Count 1), facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation (Count 2) and the illegal employment of foreigners (Count 3).
The Court said, prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused after full trial on all the counts.
Justice Osei Marfo jailed Aisha Huang four years and six months on – undertaking a mining operation without a licence, (Count 1), facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, (Count 2).
The Court also imposed a fine of 3,000 penalty units for both counts which is equivalent to GHc36, 000 (in default she is to serve additional 4 years and six months.
For the count of illegal employment of foreigners, (Count 3), the Court imposed a 12-month custodial sentence on her.
Justice Marfo also sentenced Aisha Huang to a fine of 1000 penalty units (GHc12, 000) for re-entry into Ghana without the permission of the Ghana Immigration Service (Count 4).
But, the fines are to be paid on all counts which means she will pay GHc48,000.
EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, reports that, Aisha Huang was sentenced on Act 900 (the old law which was revoked in 2019 that had prescribed the maximum custodial sentence of five years
Justice Marfo said, she had wished she had the right to punish the convict (Aisha Huang) under the new law Act (995) which imposes a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 25 years
The sentence was after lawyers of the convicted led by Miracle Attachey by way of mitigation urged the court to impose a non custodial sentence on her having in mind the congestion in the Ghanaian prisons.
Counsel said, considering the convict had spent a year and two months on remand, she should be fined and deported.
Counsel also drew the Court’s attention to his client’s admission of count four and in doing so without wasting the time of the court.
State expended valuable resources
Director of Public Prosecution, (DPP), Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa while being led by Deputy Attorney General, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah said the court had to impose the maximum punishment giving that the state had expended valuable resources into going through full trial.
“Having stated that the penalty for the offenses committed by the accused fall under Act 900, (Old Law) and having heard the plea for mitigation by the accused, we have to state that we have gone through the full length of a trial, valuable resources of the state have been expended in that regard,” she argued.
According to the DPP, taking into the consideration the devastation occasioned by the activities of the accused person, water bodies were polluted, people in the community till date are drinking sachet water when in their lives, they were drinking from the stream which was less expensive.
Mrs Obuobisa submitted that, activities of Aisha Huang destroyed the livelihood of a whole community and even the path leading to their farms.
She invited the court to take into consideration the impact of her action on the families of the witnesses who testified before this court.
“We want to persuade the Court to impose a maximum term of imprisonment and a fine. Also, we wish to state that under section 99(4) of Act 995 (New Law)….where a non Ghanaian is convicted, and if that person is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, that person ought to serve a full sentence before deportation
“Having said this, had it not been for the constitutional provision of Article 19(6) the accused person should have been sentenced to the full terms provided under 995 but under the circumstances, that is not the case
“We pray for her to be sentenced to the maximum sentence provided. …We asked that convict should be given the maximum sentence and a maximum fine and a deportation order after she has finished serving her sentence,” the submitted
“In conclusion, we wish to state that because of the impunity with which the accused operated, the sentence should reflect the impact of her actions of the people of Ghana, the community that she has permanently impaired and the livelihoods should also come in,” the DPP submitted.
According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, the trial lasted for a year and 25 days (from November 9, 2022, to Monday, December 4, 2023.
The Prosecution on May 3, closed its case after parading 11 witnesses, which included farmers, land and concession owners, an assemblyman, immigration officers and police investigators.
Below are the Prosecution Witnesses, (PW), and the chronology of how each of them appeared before the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo.
PW1. Reuben Ransford Aborabora, a Superintendent of Immigration, GIS
PW2. David Essien, a Superintendent of Immigration, Ghana Immigration Service
PW3. Nana Sarfo Prempeh, Director of Volta Resources Limited, who is also a Divisional Chief at Asante Akyem Agogo Traditional Area.
PW4. Albert Appiah, a farmer at Bepotenten, Ashanti Region.
PW5. Timothy Teye Ali, a farmer at Bepotenten, Ashanti region.
PW6. Peter Amenya, a farmer at Bepotenten, Ashanti Region.
PW7. Matthew Kwabla Abotsi, assemblyman for Bepotenten Electoral Area.
PW8. ASP Charles Adaba (Rtd), a Police Investigator.
PW9. Daniel Afrifa Adu, Assistant Superintendent of Immigration
PW10. Inspector Simon Nyaho, a Police investigator.
PW11. Devine Ahuma Ocansey, a Superintendent of Immigration.
Per the brief facts of the case as narrated to the Court by Detective Chief Inspector Frederick Sarpong were that, the Complainants in the case are Security and Intelligence officers based in Accra.
He said, all the accused are Chinese nationals who have gained notoriety for engaging in series of small-scale mining activities known as ‘galamsey’ across the country.
The prosecutor said, during the year 2017, the 1st Accused (Aisha Huang) was arrested for similar offence but managed to sneak out of the country averting prosecution.
Detective Chief Inspector Sarpong said, during the early part of 2022, the 1st Accused sneaked back into the country after having changed the details on her Chinese passport.
The Prosecutor said, the 1st Accused again resumed small-scale mining activities without licence and together with 2nd, 3rd and 4th Accused persons engaged in the sale and the purchase in Accra without valid authority granted as required by the Minerals and Mining Act.
He stated that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Accused persons are also into the sale of equipment used in illegal mining activities.
They were subsequently arrested upon Intelligence while further investigations have commenced.
Source: Kasapafmonline.com/Murtala Inusah