Despite clarification by the Office of the Senior Minister on Mr Yaa Osafo-Maafo’s comments on the deportation of the Chinese galamsey queen, Dr. Clement Apaak, the MP for Builsa South has said the minister knew what he was saying hence the clarification should not be taken serious.
In the view of the legislator, the Senior Minister communicated what President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government took into consideration before deporting the galamey queen.
Senior Minister Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo has suggested the jailing of the Chinese galamsey queen who was deported some months was not important.
The Minister believes the call by some Ghanaians for the woman, Aisha to be jailed wouldn’t have made anyone happy.
The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo said 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.
He said: “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”, he concluded.
The minister has been asked to resign following what some have termed as a fatal blow to the right against galamsey.
But his office has clarified the comments saying:What he (Senior Minister) meant was that the matter of prosecution had been dealt by a court of competent jurisdiction and that Ghanaians should focus on the economic gains of the government and how best we can consolidate the gains. The Akufo-Addo’s government is highly committed to the fight against GALAMSEY to the extent of establishing an inter ministerial committee to deal with the worrying situation. However, there are pertinent issues we should be looking at as a nation such as creation of employment for our teeming youth, industrialisation, infrastructural deficit, domestic revenue mobilisation, emphasis on technical not gramarian education and how to sustain funding for governments policies and programmes. These were the issues Senior Minister was emphasising instead of limiting the town hall meeting to the discussion of Aisha when the matter had been determined by the court. May God help us”
However, the legislators insist the minister knew what he was talking about and his comments represented views of the president.
Dr. Apaak wrote: “Folks, Senior Minister Osafo-Maafo knew and meant exactly what he said.
Osafo-Maafo is a senior government official and clearly communicated what the NADAA government took into account regarding the decision to free and deport the Chinese Galamsay Queen!
The laws of Ghana don’t matter, the rivers of Ghana don’t matter, the forest doesn’t matter, poisoning our water bodies with mercury doesn’t matter, and birthing babies with deformities doesn’t matter to the NADAA government as long as your nation of origin is funding infrastructure in Ghana. Thus, money from China matters!
Ghanaians involved in Galamsay can rot in jail but a notorious Chinese Galamsey Queen can walk free!”
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