The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court has jailed Chinese national Aisha Huang, nicknamed 'galamsey queen' for illegal mining in the country.
She has also been slapped with a GH¢48,000 fine and is also to be deported after serving her jail term.
The court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei-Marfo, found her guilty on the charge of undertaking a mining operation without a licence, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, and the illegal employment of foreigners.
Aisha Huang was also convicted on her own plea in the charge of entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Yvonne Atokora Obuobisa, briefing the court proved beyond reasonable doubt that Aisha committed the crime.
Aisha Huang had denied all the charges, the court said she contradicted herself in her defence statements in the trial.
Counsel for Aisha, Miracle Attachey in his plea of mitigation said his client had been in custody since October 2022.
He, therefore, prayed the court to impose a fine and deport his client instead of a custodial sentence.
He said It is our humble prayer that a custodial sentence to the accused would exert another financial burden on the state, particularly the prison service.
The Director of Public Prosecutions in a sharp response said taking into consideration the impact of Aisha's action on the families and witnesses who testified before this court, it was imperative for the court to impose a maximum custodial sentence and a deportation order.
She said In conclusion, we wish to state that because of the indignity with which the accused person operated, the sentence should reflect the impact of her actions on the people of Ghana, the communities that she had permanently impaired and the livelihoods that she took away.
After several months of trial, Aisha Huang decided to change her plea in the last charge but her plea to counts on illegal mining remains not guilty.
Aisha Huang was re-arrested for the same offenses on September 5, 2022.
Aisha together with three other Chinese nationals was brought before the court over charges including engaging in the sale and purchase of minerals without a license and mining without a license.
They have been charged with mining without a license and engaging in the sale and purchase of minerals. They are expected to reappear in court on September 14, 2022.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In 2019, then Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo justified the government's decision to discontinue the prosecution of Aisha Huang who was found to be openly engaged in illegal mining at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region, and deported her.Read Full Story