An Accra High Court has convicted Chinese national and ‘Galamsey Queen’, En Huang, popularly known as Aisha Huang, for re-entering Ghana illegally following her deportation in December 2018.
The conviction followed the decision by the accused to change her initial not guilty plea to guilty as part of a plea bargaining agreement with the Office of the Attorney General.
She had initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of “Entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry contrary to section 20(4) of the Immigration Act, 2000, Act 573.”
Her plea was retaken as a result of the agreement, and she pleaded guilty and was convicted by the court on her own plea of guilty.
The court, presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, has however, deferred her sentencing until the end of her trial in which she has been charged for undertaking small-scale illegal mining at Bepotenten in the Ashanti Region.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Attorney General has closed its case in the trial regarding the other charges after calling 11 witnesses in proving its case.
Counsel for Aisha Huang was ordered to file a submission of no case to answer by May 16, 2023, while the prosecution was given up to May 24 to file a response. The case was adjourned to May 25, 2023.
The prosecution led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, in pushing to establish the guilt of the accused, called 11 witnesses some of whom are immigration officers, police officers, farmers and a sub-chief.
The farmers who testified for the prosecution all told the court that they sold their farmlands to Aisha Huang, who had destroyed the farmlands as result of illegal mining.
Nana Sarfo Prempeh, the prosecution’s third witness, in his evidence-in-chief, told the trial court that the accused has caused what he described as “wholesale damages” to farmers whose farms were destroyed as a result of her illegal mining activities.
He further told the court that Aisha Huang’s illegal mining activities caused damages to residents of Bepotenten, “who could not have access to clean drinking water all because of the illegal mining activities of Aisha Huang on the concession.”
Mathew Kwabla Abotsi, the Assemblyman for Bepotenten Electoral Area in the Amansie Central District, also insisted on seeing Aisha Huang at the galamsey site where she employed workers to mine illegally.
According to him, he saw the accused at a mining site which was taking place on a footpath residents used to their farms when he followed up on a complaint about her encroaching on the footpath.
ASP Charles Adaba (rtd), one of the investigators in the matter, in his testimony, also told the court that the accused had no permit to mine or undertake any mining support services in Ghana.
“The response from the Minerals Commission established that the accused person’s company did not have any licence or authorisation from the Minerals Commission to undertake any small-scale mining operation or to even render mine support service to any person or group,” the retired officer told the court.