General News of Wednesday, 26 December 2018
The secretary for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Charles Bissue, has backed the Attorney General’s decision to discontinue the prosecution of alleged illegal mining kingpin Aisha Huang.
Mr. Bissue, who said he did not know why the charges were dropped, said the Attorney General’s decision would spare the state the cost of prosecution.
“Prosecution is good, but once you are prosecuting you are using the taxpayers’ money and I don’t think we have to be to be burdened with that,” he said to Citi News.
“Aisha Huang’s arrest and further deportation I think [was] the right step by the court… I do not know the sentence that would have been meted out to her and her colleagues. However, if Ghanaian taxpayers’ money is going to be used to prosecute and they have to be sentenced and go to jail and all that then it is still the Ghanaian taxpayer being used.”
In addition, Mr. Bissue said, “the necessary process not to allow them back in the country will be a deterrent to others as well.”
Media coalition demands clarity
Last week, the Attorney-General filed a nolle prosequi in the Aisha Huang case and later had her deported.
The Media Coalition Against Galamsey has petitioned the Attorney General to provide an explanation for discontinuing the prosecution.
The coalition stressed that clarity was needed to ensure wrong signals were not sent to the public.
“We do not subscribe to the view that by our laws, the Attorney-General’s power to issue nolle prosequis is base on an absolute unquestioned discretion so that she is not expected to provide an explanation for such a filing,” the coalition said in a statement.
No reason has been so far been given by the Attorney-General for the discontinuation of the case.
Aisha Huang had been 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).