The convener for the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining, Ken Ashigbey, has urged the government to prosecute all foreign nationals who engage in illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
Comments from Ken Ashigbey come on the back of President Akufo-Addo’s public declaration that his government’s decision to prosecute ‘galamsey’ queen, Aisha Huang but deport her was a mistake.
Speaking to Citi News , Ken Ashigbey said even though some locals are involved in the act, he believes 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,” Ken Ashigbey 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.
President Akufo-Addo last week 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.
Aisha Huang and four others were in May 2017 arrested and processed for court.
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.