A High Court judge, Justice Lydia Osei-Marfo, is calling for an amendment to the Minerals and Mining Act to go after chiefs and farmers who give out their lands to illegal miners.
The judge in her remark in court on Monday during the sentencing of Aisha Huang, said it is not enough to prosecute only illegal miners.
She said stringent efforts must be made to prosecute chiefs and other landowners who give out lands to illegal miners to help win the fight against galamsey.
Aisha Huang has been jailed four and half years, with an additional GH₵ 48,000 fine on four counts of undertaking a mining operation without a license, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in a mining operation, the illegal employment of foreigners, and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry.
After Justice Lydia Osei-Marfo read her judgment, counsel for the accused, Miracle Attachey, rose to his feet and prayed the court to consider the accused on the basis that she has complied with the court and security officials since her arrest a year ago. He said sentencing her will only put a financial burden on the state. He pleaded with the judge to fine and repatriate her.
But, Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, argued against his plea stating that the accused ought to suffer a maximum jail sentence and a hefty fine.
Justice Lydia Osei-Marfo noted that considering all the evidence provided by prosecution, she is left with no doubt that Aisha Huang’s actions have been detrimental to the environment, and have deprived many of their livelihood.
She said the accused has taken the country’s hospitality for granted.
Justice Osei-Marfo also added that security officials did not do due diligence in granting Aisha Huang papers upon her second return.
Aisha Huang will serve the next four and a half years in prison and pay some 48,000 cedis to the state.
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