Within the same week, 3 illegal Ghanaian miners have been sentenced to a total of 45 years and also fined GH¢720,000 for undertaking small-scale mining operations without a license when only 2 days earlier, another court ordered the deportation of 4 illegal Chinese miners also accused of mining in a forest reserve.
The three Ghanaian convicts were Joseph Donkor, 40, Charles Awusi 27 and Paul Joseph also 27 with each receiving a jail term of 15years on two counts of mining without license and conspiracy to commit a crime with an additional fine of ¢240,000.00 to be paid by each of them.
Like the four Chinese nationals namely Shi Li Wen, Huang Shen Jun, Li DeHao and Lan Hai Song who are to be deported, the three Ghanaian convicts were caught in the act of illegally prospecting for gold in a forest reserve during an operation by a team from the Regional Forestry Commission.
However, in addition, the Chinese also faced additional charges of illegal residence, using fraudulent means to validate their residence and working without the required permits, a Kumasi High Court heard.
They were also involved in illegal mining activities on a 40-acre land at Obuasi-based Seidu Fanzia School.
“The four Chinese citizens who have all violated sections 23(1) and 35(1, d) of the Immigration Act 2000 (Act 573) of Ghana, found working by prospecting for gold on the disputed site at Obuasi, are to be deported to their country of origin by this court and are hereby deported,” the court declared, presided by Justice Emmanuel Senyo Amedahe who earlier granted an absconding warrant against the 4 Chinese.
They were arrested whilst mining gold under the protection of armed guards on land earmarked for a school.
The Chinese convicts who could not meet the bail condition of GH¢200,000 each with two sureties, were ordered by the court to deposit their passports and work permits for fear of absconding before the final determination of the case.
They have remained in prison custody since April 19, 2021, until Thursday, June 3, when the court ordered their deportation.
Their Ghanaian counterparts on the other hand were jailed 15 years each and have since started their sentence in separate prisons across the country. They are to pay 240,000 Ghana Cedis each in default of which they could serve more time beyond the 15 years.