The amended mining law of Ghana has stipulated a minimum of 15 years and maximum of 25 years for illegal miners (galamseyers), President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.
At the second meeting of the Council of State at the Jubilee House for this year, President Akufo-Addo said: “We are talking about minimum sentences of 15 years, maximum 25) years”.
“We have also increased the punishment for foreigners who intervene illegally in this industry”, he told the Council, adding: “We have had to take away some of the discretion of the judges largely because with the greatest of respect, they are not cooperating on these matters”.
Explaining why the discretion of the judges have been reduced with regard to galamsey offences, the president said: “People are caught, fragrant act, they are taken to court, granted bail, and at the end of the day they disappear”.
“We thought it was important to take away the discretion from the judges”, he noted, adding: “It is unfortunate that that should be so because all of us should be able to trust the judges also to do their bid in stamping out crime in our society; that hasn’t turned out to be the case. So, this is another step that we have taken against this fight against galamsey”.
Prior to the amendment, Ghanaian offenders faced a maximum jail term of five years.
Aside from the amended jail terms, convicts risk a minimum fine of 150,000 penalty units.