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TRANSCRIPT: What Osafo Maafo said about deportation of galamsey queen

BY: graphic.com.gh
En Huang aka Aisha (left),  the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo.
En Huang aka Aisha (left), the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo.

The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo says jailing Chinese illegal mining "queen," En Huang aka Aisha for engaging in illegal mining was not important as it was not going to solve Ghana's economic problems.

Mr Osaafo-Maafo made the comments when he addressed a recent town hall meeting organised by the government abroad.

In a viral video, he is heard justifying the decision to deport Aisha in December 2018.

She had been arraigned before court on May 9, 2017, for engaging in illegal small-scale mining at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region.

Watch the video below;

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Read a transcript of what Mr Osafo Maafo said below;

“We have a very good relationship with China. Today, the main company that is helping develop the infrastructure system in Ghana is Sinohydro, it is a Chinese Company. It is the one that is going to help process our bauxite and provide about two billion dollars to us."

"So when there are these kinds of arrangements, there are other things behind the scenes. Putting that lady (Aisha) in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your economic problems. It is not going to make you happy or me happy, that's not important, the most important thing is that she has been deported from Ghana..."

"...I am saying that there are many other things beyond what we see in these matters and everybody is wide awake, the most important thing is that we have banned this, we have established regulations and we are protecting our environment. That is far more important than one Chinese woman who has been deported out of the country".

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Deportation

Aisha and four other Chinese nationals who were arrested for their involvement in illegal mining (galamsey) in Ghana, were deported after the state filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the trial.

A State Attorney, Ms Mercy Arthur, presented the application for nolle prosequi to the Accra High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Ekow Baiden.

Based on the application, the court discharged the five accused persons.

She was 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).

The other four accused persons were charged with disobedience of directives given by or under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

According to the prosecution, Aisha had a mining concession at Bepotenten and also operated a mining support services company.

The four other accused persons, it said, were employed by Aisha to work at the mining site.

The prosecution claimed checks at the Minerals Commission, however, revealed that Aisha had no licence to operate either a mine or a mining support services company.

They also contended that the visas issued to all the five Chinese by the Ghana Embassy in Beijing, China, did not allow them to work in Ghana.