The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery has vehemently denied reports that his outfit supervised the repatriation of Chinese national, Aisha Huang as part of the Sinohydro deal.
Mr. Dery said the reports are not true and must be disregarded.The Government has come under intense criticism after Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo told some Ghanaians abroad that Aisha Huang also known as galamsey queen was repatriated because of the Sinohydro deal with China.
But addressing MPs in Parliament, Ambrose Dery said that was not the case.
“I want to state clearly that the Chinese Aisha [Huang] was repatriated and was not part of any negotiation. The repatriation was done under the office of the Ministry of the Interior and I can say with authority that it was not part of any negotiation deal, ” he said.
The Senior Minister at a recent town hall meeting in the United States said Aisha Huang did not face the full rigours of the law due to the benefits of the Sinohydro deal.
Mr. Osafo Maafo justified the government’s decision to discontinue Aisha Huang’s prosecution after her alleged involvement in illegal mining.
Osafo Maafo stressed that Ghana’s diplomatic ties with China and the huge investments Chinese companies are making in the country as part of the reasons.
“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,” the minister stressed.
“Putting that lady (Aisha Huang) 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 out of Ghana,” he added.
Aisha and four of her Chinese employees were arraigned on May 9, 2017, for engaging in illegal small-scale mining at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region.
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).
She and the four others were subsequently deported to China.
A lot of Ghanaians were outraged by the government for not allowing her to face the face punishment here in Ghana, which is payment of a maximum fine of GH¢3.6 million and/or a maximum jail term of 20 years upon conviction under Section 99 of the Minerals and Mining Act.