Aisha, who was arraigned in Ghana in 2017 for engaging in illegal small-scale mining at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region, was later deported in December 2018 by the government.
Commenting on the development at a recent town hall meeting organised by Ghana’s government abroad, Mr Osafo-Maafo said: “We have a very good relationship with China. 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 two billion dollars 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. It is not going to make you happy or me happy, that's not important, the most important thing is that she has been deported from Ghana..."
"...I am saying that there are many other things beyond what we see in these matters and everybody is wide awake, the most important thing is that we have banned this, we have established regulations and we are protecting our environment. That is far more important than one Chinese woman who has been deported out of the country".
However, the opposition party finds the comment unfortunate and wants Mr Osafo-Maafo punished to assure citizens that the government is committed to fighting illegal mining in the country.
“As a party, we find that the buck stops with the President. We call on President Akufo-Addo to: one, frontally condemn the comments of Osafo-Maafo. Two, really set the record straight on the fight against galamsey as regards the commitment or otherwise. Three, immediately and now sack Osafo-Maafo. Anything short of this will mean and only mean that President Akufo-Addo endorses those comments, and his fight against galamsey is merely a charade,” Jerry Johnson, Greater Accra Regional Communications Officer of the NDC said in a statement on 20 April 2019.