Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has discounted the allegation that the Chinese ‘galamsey queen’ Aisha Huang, was “exchanged” for the $2 billion Sinohydro deal by the government of Ghana.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh at a press conference yesterday in Accra said En Huang was just one of several foreigners deported from the country in the fight against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey), stressing that the $2-billion bauxite-for-infrastructure deal signed between the government of Ghana and China’s Sinohydro company had nothing to do with the nolle prosequoi filed by the Attorney-General that saw to the discontinuation of the prosecution of Ms Huang for galamsey-related offences and her subsequent deportation from the country.
The land minister’s clarification comes a few days after Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, told a town hall meeting in the United States of America (USA) that: “We [Ghana] 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. Putting that lady [Aisha] 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 from Ghana…”
“…I am saying that there are many other things beyond what we see in these matters and everybody is wide awake, the most important thing is that we have banned this, we have established regulations and we are protecting our environment. That is far more important than one Chinese woman who has been deported out of the country”.
However, Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said: “With respect to the 194 foreigners that have been deported, the exact figures dealing with them as per particular nationals cannot be given now but the nationals that have been deported include Chinese, Indians, Nigerians, Malians, and Burkinabes,” adding that: “So, it is not only Chinese that have been deported, neither is it only Aisha Huang that has been deported for purposes of Sinohydro loan or purposes of Sinohydro agreement that the government of Ghana has with the Chinese government. And we did not exchange her for the loan.”
The minister said: “This lady was in Ghana prior to the arrangement that we made with the Chinese government to secure the financial assistance from them. And no government official thought of shielding her, no government officials pampered her, there is nobody in the NPP that dreamt of dealing with Aisha in one way or the other so that she can perpetrate the illegal mining she was found in doing in Ghana so as to enable Ghana to secure the loan from the Chinese government.”
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH
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