A Ghanaian diplomat has said the discontinuation of legal proceedings against a Chinese illegal miner, Aisha Huang, indirectly ridicules Ghana’s judicial system.
Victor James Gheho insists no diplomatic agreement between Ghana and China grants immunity to nationals of either country against crime and criminal prosecutions.
“There is no agreement today as far as I am concerned, between Ghana and China that someone who has committed a crime can be let go in order to further political interests. That is a very bad precedent and that I think it is wrong,” the veteran diplomat told Kojo Yankson on Joy News Thursday.
Miss Huang was arraigned before court on May 9, 2017, for engaging in galamsey activities at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region. But the trial was later discontinued.
Revealing the reason for the discontinuation of the case, the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, at a town hall meeting abroad said Ghana has great diplomatic relations with China and intends to partner that country in key infrastructural projects citing the $2 billion Sinohydro deal.
“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 $2 billion 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,” he said.
But Mr. Gbeho insists the “the judgment of the government in letting Ms Hauag go is questionable. No one, other than the government itself should be able to answer for it.”
He concedes that bilateral agreements exist between nations. These agreements may include extradition provisions.
However, those provisions, he argued, are not in furtherance of criminal ends but to deepen the rule of law such as protecting the human rights of nationals who may be standing trial in a country which does not uphold the tenants of rule of law.
“Sometimes these things happen but they are wrong. If it involves criminals the laws must work unless there is human rights violation,” Gheho posited.
Mr. Gheho warns that if the practice of letting escape justice persists it will “weaken law and order in the country.”
The accomplish diplomat is in rich company.
The Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining has said government’s discontinuation of the prosecution of Aisha Huang is a fatal blow to fight against illegal mining.
According to Ken Ashigbey, the government must immediately correct the negative impression created by its action on Ms Huang.
“Messaging is so important. The message that comes from what the Senior Minister has said is a fatal blow to the fight against galamsey. It is very demotivating to everyone who is involved in this.
“I think there should be a correction of it from the minister of information right down to the president, something needs to be done about it,” the convener of the coalition told Joy News in an interview yesterday.