Galamsey queen Aisha Huang was put on Ethiopian Airlines flight No. Et 920, which took off at about 12:50 pm on the 19th of December 2018 to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, en route to Guangzhou-China, Mercy Arthur, a principal state attorney told the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court when she filed four new charges against the Chinese illegal miner on Friday, 16 September 2022.
Presenting the facts of the case on Aisha Huang’s latest charges, the principal state attorney said on the 19th of December 2018, the Attorney General entered a nolle prosequi and terminated an ongoing trial against the Chinese national, noting that on that same day, “the Comptroller-General of Ghana Immigration Service revoked her permit to remain in Ghana indefinitely, ordered her immediate repatriation to China, and directed her to stay out of Ghana until the Comptroller-General approved of her future re-entry into Ghana”.
“Consequently, she was put on Ethiopian Airlines Flight No. Et 920, which took off at about 12:50 pm on 19h December 2018 to Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, en route to Guangzhou-China”, she told the court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, adding that Aisha Huang “sat on seat No.32 F(Economy Class) and her travel documents handed to the captain of the flight to be handed to her at her final destination, Guangzhou China.”
The four new charges are in connection with Aisha Huang’s crimes in the past.
Count 1: Undertaking a mining operation without a licence contrary to section 99(2)(a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, Act 995.
Count 2: Facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation contrary to section 99 (2)(a) & (3) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, Act 995.
Count 3: Illegal employment of foreign nationals contrary to section 24 of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).
Count 4: Entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry contrary to section 20(4) of the Immigration Act, 2000, Act 573.
Led by the Director of Prosecution, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the principal state attorney told the court that on the 5th of May 2017, at about 12:00 pm, officers of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Obuasi Municipal Command, arrested four male Chinese: Gao Jin Cheng, Lu Qi Jun, Haibin Gao and Zhang who were involved in active illegal mining at a site in Bepontenten in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region.
The four Chinese men, she noted, confessed that they were employees of Aisha Huang, who, according to them, was in possession of their passports in Kumasi.
The four men were sent to the Obuasi office of GIS and subsequently to their Kumasi office, where Aisha Huang, upon learning of the arrests, proceeded in advance but left when she got there and realised the men had not yet arrived.
The principal state attorney said the regional GIS office in Kumasi called Aisha Huang to report to the office with the passports of the four arrested miners.
“With great difficulty, En Huang eventually produced the passports of only Hai bin Gao and Zhang Zhipeng. The visas of these two arrested persons showed that they came to Ghana on B-1 visas (business visas) which did not qualify them to be engaged in any type of work in Ghana”, she said, adding: “They were, however, engaged by En Huang to undertake mining operations without the requisite licence at Bepotenten”.
She noted that “investigations disclosed that En Huang took over the farms of several farmers by mining around their farms and destroying access routes to the farms till they eventually gave over their farms to her for mining purposes.”
“She had in the process of mining destroyed their cash crops, sources of drinking water, and livelihoods”.
She was arraigned on charges of illegally undertaking a small-scale mining operation contrary to section 99 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 and illegal employment of foreign nationals contrary to sections 24 and 52(1) (d) of the Immigration Act, 2000, Act 573.
There has been a controversy over whether Aisha Huang was, indeed, flown out of the country following her recent arrest for the same crimes.
A few days ago, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the galamsey queen was “repatriated” from Ghana even though President Nana Akufo-Addo, a day earlier, said he was not sure she was “deported” from the country when she was arrested four years ago.
According to Mr Oppong Nkrumah, the President’s comment was a “figure of speech”, adding: “The President knows what happened. He has clarity on it. It was a question he was answering that he was not too sure that this was deportation or repatriation”.
“The fact is she was repatriated from the Ghanaian jurisdiction”, Mr Oppong Nkrumah told Accra-based Citi FM on Tuesday, 13 September 2022.
Subsequently, he noted: “She found herself back in the Ghanaian Jurisdiction”, adding: “The security agencies did not go to bed, they arrested her, she is in custody”.
“She has not been granted bail,” he added.
“I think all of our national attention must go strongly to focus on that and to see that through and to get results for the people of Ghana,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.
Earlier, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said: “I’m not still sure whether she was in fact deported or whether she fled the country the first time and has now come back”, noting: “There still seems to be some uncertainty about it”.
“But whichever way it is, she’s become the sort of nickname for all that galamsey represents”, the President added during an interview in Ho, Volta Region on Tuesday, 13 September 2022.
Aisha Huang was arrested in 2018 and was believed to have been deported after she was found to have been engaged in illegal mining in the country.
Responding to angry Ghanaians on why she was deported and not prosecuted, the Senior Minister then, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, in 2019, said jailing her in Ghana will not have solved the country’s economic problems.
Osafo Maafo cited Ghana’s diplomatic ties with China and the huge investments Chinese companies are making in developing the country’s infrastructure, including the $2 billion Sinohydro deal, as some of the reasons for Aisha Huang’s deportation.