The Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Prof Kwesi Aning says punishing Aisha Huang alone will not help eradicate the problem of illegal mining.
Speaking on Newsfile on Saturday, he explained that Aisha Huang does not operate on her own and everyone involved in her business must be exposed as well.
“Punishing Aisha Huang alone does not begin to tinker with the problem or the extent of the problem. We need to ask ourselves who are those that have colluded with her, connived with her, facilitated her business to the extent that we are even in doubt if she left this country,” he said.
Prof Aning added that the Attorney General’s decision to examine Aisha Huang’s past crimes also opens up some interesting opportunities for the country.
He stated that some of these questions include “what was the basis for Aisha Huang to be able to be exfiltrated from Ghana when we knew she had committed crimes that threaten our very existence and these are not threats that are identifiable in the short term.”
Prof Aning explained that illegal mining in the long term does not only affect water bodies but its effects also trickle down to other parts of people’s livelihood including food security.
“Even in war, when you poison your water it is not an acceptable thing but we have voluntarily in peacetime colluded with foreigners to destroy our water bodies and the painful thing is the bombasting explanations that are given to justify this,” he said.
His comment comes after Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, announced he was set to prosecute notorious ‘galamsey’ poster girl, Aisha Huang for her past and recent crimes.
He requested details of evidence compiled by investigators in 2018 and what has been compiled on alleged recent offences.
“The Attorney General per his request, assures that he will initiate prosecution against Miss Huang, in respect of her current alleged offences as well as those of 2017 before her deportation from Ghana in 2018,” the Justice Ministry added in a social media post.
The ‘galamsey’ kingpin stoked controversy when she was arrested back in 2017 for engaging in the unlawful activity.
The 47-year-old Chinese national was in 2018 deported by the government, a move which triggered questions about Ghana’s commitment to eradicating the menace.
But the announcement of her re-arrest within the country’s borders has reignited this concern.
Aisha and her three accomplices were on September 2, charged with engaging in the sale and purchase of minerals without a license.
Meanwhile, Prof Aning said that he was also disturbed about “the amazing rapidity with which state institutions that had failed to act suddenly claim to be acting, but in whose interest?”
He questioned whether the state institution that claimed their intelligence led to the arrest of Aisha Huang are working in their selfish interest to avoid facing questions about the loopholes in their agencies.
“I have also requested IGP Dampare to investigate this assertion by a miner that she is able to get a commander transferred. If that is true then the very edifice of this state, those who should be protecting us, those we have entrusted with our lives have failed and failed us woefully,” Prof Aning said.
He also believes the fight against illegal mining is non-existent following the rearrest of Aisha Huang.
“What we call a fight are simple rhetorical flourishes to give a false sense that we are doing something that prevents us from asking the very difficult questions,” Prof Aning stated.