Inusah Fuseini

A former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, says the approach the country adopted in the fight against illegal mining shows that the country was not determined to end the illegal mining menace. According to him, the sentence handed to a known illegal mining kingpin, Aisha Huang, shows that the country is not serious about ending the menace.

“I think the Aisha Huang case and the conviction and the sentence is another vivid demonstration of our lack of commitment in fighting this canker. The first arrest of Aisha Huang was under a legal regime that imposed or criminalised illegal mining and imposed a sentence that was higher than four and half years,” he said.

He made these comments at the “JoyNews National Dialogue of Illegal Mining” on December 4. Mr Fuseini, who was once the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources was reacting to an Accra High Court verdict where the ‘galamsey queen’ was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, in addition to a fine of GH₵48,000. The Chinese national, also known as En Huang, was standing trial for undertaking a mining operation without a licence, facilitating the participation of persons engaged in mining operations, the illegal employment of foreigners, and entering Ghana while prohibited from re-entry.

On the back of this, the former Minister stressed that during his time at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, it was realised that the sentencing regime was minimal and not deterrent enough. Therefore, something needed to do something about it, for which reason the law was amended.

According to him, the court’s decision to use the old mining regime was not a positive sign. It seemed to imply that environmental damage caused by mining could be accepted. He further argued that environmental crimes are considered crimes against humanity worldwide and cannot be justified by the exploitation of minerals.

He justified his claim with a video of a woman who gave birth to a stillborn child due the negative impact of living in an illegal mining community. Mr Fuseini emphasised that “we must all leave here [JoyNews National Dialogue] knowing and accepting that until something is done to bring a solution, we are all moving towards extinction.”

He said the canker was attacking our very existence and economy, as well as exposing the country to dangers that cannot be quantified. The former legislator added that clearly, there was a bigger problem that must be confronted with the same determination other countries had demonstrated.

By:  Connielove Mawutornyo Dzodzegbe

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