Aisha Huang sentenced


Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, the presiding judge in the case involving Aisha Huang, the galamsey kingpin, asserted that the Chinese national exploited Ghana’s hospitality. Huang, found guilty of engaging in illegal mining activities, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and fined GHC 48,000.


Judge Lydia Osei Marfo emphasized that Huang had abused Ghana’s hospitality by returning with a different identity after her initial trial was disrupted, leading to her deportation. The accused faced charges in November 2022 related to illegal mining, facilitating unlicensed mining operations, employing foreign nationals without proper authorization, and entering Ghana against prohibition.


Despite being deported in 2018, Huang reentered Ghana in October 2022 through the Aflao border to resume her illegal activities. Throughout the year-long trial, she pleaded not guilty to most charges, admitting only to entering Ghana while prohibited.


The prosecution presented eleven witnesses, including farmers who sold land to Huang and observed her engaging in illegal mining. Video evidence further illustrated the environmental devastation caused by her actions. Judge Lydia Osei Marfo, after careful consideration of the evidence, concluded that the state had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.


During the mitigation phase, Huang’s defense requested a fine and deportation rather than imprisonment. However, the director of public prosecutions, Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa, advocated for both imprisonment and a fine, citing the impact on the affected families. Despite expressing a desire for more severe punishment, Judge Lydia Marfo imposed a custodial sentence and a fine.


The judge noted her limitation under the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2019, 995, which mandates a minimum 15-year sentence for such offenses. Huang was sentenced to four and a half years for illegal mining and an additional 12 months for illegal employment of foreigners and entering Ghana while prohibited. The sentences are to run concurrently, and in default of paying the fine, Huang would serve additional jail time.



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