Ghana arrested and repatriated over 1,600 Chinese nationals engaged in illegal small-scale mining, the Ghana Immigration Service, GIS, has disclosed.
The total figure of 1,641 repatriations spanned between 2009 and August 2022. There was no repatriation in 2011 with only nine repatriations in 2009.
The highest figure was 713 recorded in 2013 with 376 in 2019 and 160 in 2018 occupying the second and third slots respectively.
Deportation vs. Repatriation:
GIS has also confirmed that it only repatriates foreign nationals involved in illegal small-scale mining, galamsey, explaining that it does not deport such offenders.
The GIS said contrary to reports about having undertaken deportations, it rather undertook repatriations that affected some 966 Chinese nationals involved in galamsey between 2012 and 2016.
Head of Public Relations at the Service, Supt Michael Amoako-Atta told Accra-based Asaase Radio on September 13 that: “When it comes to the removal of citizens from Ghana, especially in relations to illegal mining, we do not have deportation on our records.
“We have repatriation of nationals involved in illegal mining and they are removed from the country [but] for deportation there’s nothing like that. [And] between 2012 and 2016 we had 966 Chinese nationals who were repatriated from Ghana…” Amoako Atta said.
Mahama’s 5,000 Chinese deportees comment
His comments come on the back of a recent claim by former president John Dramani Mahama to the effect that his administration deported about 5,000 Chinese nationals engaged in galamsey.
“When I was in office, I faced this same illegal gold mining [issue]. I deported almost 5,000 illegal Chinese miners. I didn’t say because of the good relations we have with Ghana; we should allow them to engage in this illicit activity. We collaborated with the Chinese embassy, and it didn’t destroy our relationship.”
The PRO explained, however, that in 2013, some 4,000 Chinee nationals had requested to voluntarily return home, which the Service ensured was done.
“… But in 2013 the Ghana Immigration Service conducted a number of operations and around that time we had 4000 Chinese nationals who voluntarily asked to be returned to China.
“So they were not repatriated but [decided to go back] on their own because of the operations we were undertaking in the mining areas. So this is different from the 966 repatriations.”