Attorney-General to appeal Aisha Huang’s 4-year jail term and ask for longer sentence
The Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has decided to appeal against the Accra High Court’s four and half years jail term handed over to En Huang, popularly known Aisha Huang, a chinese national illegal mining kingpin in the Ashanti Region.
The move, he explained, is to test the soundness of the trial court’s decision to punish the prominent illegal miner under the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 900), and ensure that the new sentencing regime imposed by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995), is applied to the convict.
In a statement dated December 5, 2023, is entreating the public to desist from making further comments on the judgement, saying that could not only jeopardise the sound and efficient administration of justice but also undermine the fight against illegal mining.
On Monday, December 4, 2023, the galamsey kingpin, Aisha Huang, was jailed four-and-a-half years by the Accra High Court for engaging in illegal mining.
In addition to the custodial sentence, Huang was also fined GH¢48,000.
She is to be deported after serving her jail term and paying the fine imposed by the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court after finding her guilty of undertaking a mining operation without a licence, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation and illegal employment of foreigners.
The jail term was in respect of offences she committed between 2015 and 2017 before she was first deported in 2018 following the A-G’s decision to discontinue the case.
After convicting the Chinese national, the presiding judge, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, said she wished she could have given her a longer sentence.
Although she was not explicit, the judge’s hand appeared to have been forced by the old mining law, the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), which imposes a maximum of five years’ jail term for engaging in illegal mining.
Act 703 was replaced in 2019 with the Minerals and Mining Act, 2019 (Act 995), which came into force well after Huang’s trial had begun under the old law.
Under Act 995, convicted illegal miners face a minimum of 15 years and a maximum 25 years in prison.
En Huang was accused of being in the thick of affairs of galamsey, especially in the Ashanti Region.
She was deported from the country in 2018 after the A-G decided to discontinue her trial in which she was accused of engaging in small-scale mining without a licence.
However, she sneaked back into the country to engage in the same activities for which she was deported.
In October 2022, the A-G decided to prosecute her for the crimes she committed before her deportation.
It was the case of the prosecution that Aisha had an illegal mining concession at Bepotenten in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region and also operated a mining support services company.
She had pleaded not guilty to four counts of undertaking a mining operation without a licence, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, illegal employment of foreigners and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry.
But on May 3, 2023, Aisha pleaded guilty to entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry contrary to section 20(4) of the Immigration Act, 2000, Act 573.
While Aisha Huang had denied the remaining three charges, it was the court’s view that she contradicted herself in her defence statements in the trial which lasted for one year, two months.