In a landmark decision, Aisha Huang, known as the ‘galamsey queen’ and an alleged illegal mining kingpin, has been convicted on various mining offenses. The Accra High Court delivered the verdict on Monday, December 4, 2023, sentencing the Chinese national to 4 and a half years in prison along with a GH₵48,000 fine.
The charges against Aisha Huang included undertaking mining operations without a license, facilitating the involvement of individuals in mining activities, the illegal employment of foreigners, and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry. Despite vehemently denying any involvement in illegal mining, the court found her guilty.
The judgment highlighted the prosecution’s argument that Aisha had abused the hospitality extended to her and had violated her repatriation arrangement by returning to Ghana. The judge concurred with these assertions, emphasizing the severity of her actions.
Deputy Attorney General Alfred-Tuah Yeboah has reassured the public that Aisha Huang will be deported after serving her sentence, emphasizing the government’s commitment to addressing the issue of illegal mining.
This case has a complex background, with Aisha initially being deported in 2018 for engaging in small-scale mining without a license. However, reports surfaced that she clandestinely returned to Ghana to continue similar activities. The decision to prosecute her for alleged crimes committed both before and after her deportation in October 2022 shed light on the ongoing challenges associated with illegal mining in the country.
Aisha Huang’s guilty plea to entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry, as part of a Plea Bargaining agreement with the State, marked a significant turn in the case. The charges ranged from illegal mining concessions to operating a mining support services company, reflecting the gravity of the offenses.
As the legal proceedings unfolded, both Aisha Huang and state prosecutors presented their cases, closing arguments on October 12. The recent conviction underscores the determination of the Ghanaian authorities to address the issue of illegal mining and hold individuals accountable for their actions.
The outcome of this high-profile case sets a precedent and serves as a reminder of the government’s commitment to tackling the challenges posed by illegal mining in the country.