Four persons including two Chinese have been convicted by a Tarkwa Circuit court for illegal dealing gold and related money laundering activities.
They are Chen Hung, and Chen Zhili, both Chinese; Stephen Arthur and Prince Denis Aidoo, both Ghanaian.
The two Chinese were sentenced to a find of 120,000 penalty units (GHC 1,440,000) each or in default serve 15years each in prison while the two Ghanaians were also fined 100,000 and 120,000 penalty units (GHC1,200,000 and GHC 1,440,000) respectively, or in default serve 10 years and 15 years in prison .
According to a statement signed and issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Accra on Tuesday, the imposed penalties applied by the court were to deter others from undertaking illegal activities associated with mining.
It indicated that government was committed to sanitizing the mining sector, including small-scale mining,which has been facing an infiltration of foreigners and in recent times, an escalation of smuggling of gold to neighboring countries.
“The penalties imposed are clear evidence of the Ghana’s resolve to fight illegalities in the mining sector,” the statement said.
“Initiatives to fight the “galamsey” menace include; Government launching “Operation Halt II” to clamp down on illegal miners, government collaborating with the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners to flush out illegal miners within the industry,” the statement added.
According to the Ministry, government in 2019 decided that the sanctions applicable to illegal mining were not severe enough to provide the warranted deterrence and hence the passage of Act 995 to amend and make the sanctions stiffer.
The Ministry said it was therefore the passing of Act 995 which imposed the penalties that had been applied by the court and which is expected to deter those who will be tempted to undertake illegal activities associated with mining.
The statement noted that the example of the four convicted was to “sound a word of caution to persons involved in illegal mining activities,especially in water bodies and forest reserves.”
It also said that seven foreigner on September 30, were arrested by a task force showing government’s resolve in eradicating the menace.
More so, it said government had launched the “National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme”, which provided many business and livelihood options for interested individuals to venture into.
The programme, the Ministry said featured the Community Mining Scheme, which provided a credible, responsible and sustainable alternative to the “galamsey” menace.
These interventions were expected to, if not deter, then attract people away from
The Ministry finally assured that government would not relent but lay out stricter penalties to people found culpable to such activities.
BY TIMES REPORTER