Former President John Dramani Mahama’s claim that he repatriated almost five thousand Chinese illegal miners during his tenure is false, The Chronicle’s fact-check has revealed.
In an interview with TV3 on Tuesday, September 12, 2022 Mr. Mahama said, “When I was president, we valued the relations with China, but if you are a Ghanaian and you go to China and you engage in illegality, they don’t say because of the good relations they have with Ghana, they are going to let you go scot-free.
“You are going to face the full rigours of the law in China and I don’t doubt that there are some of our citizens in jail in China. When I became President, I was faced with this same illegal gold-mining. I deported almost 5,000 illegal Chinese miners.
“I didn’t say because of the good relations we have with China; we should allow them to continue to engage in illicit activities and we collaborated with the Chinese Embassies, they got 747s and they came and took their nationals away. It didn’t destroy our relationship.”
The Chronicle has checked with the Ghana Immigration Service’s (GIS) figures on the number of Chinese that were repatriated during the reign of Mr. Mahama, which spanned from 2013 to 2016, and the figures do not corroborate.
According to the GIS figures, in 2013, 713 Chinese nationals were repatriated; in 2014, 74. In 2015 and 2016, 21 and 28 Chinese nationals were repatriated, respectively.
Tallying the figures from the agency mandated to keep track of such occurrences, the total number of Chinese deported from Ghana from 2013 to 2016, which period covered the tenure of ex-President Mahama is 836.
Even so, if we are to add the entire two-terms of the late Prof. Mills and Mr. Mahama’s administrations, it sums up to 1,018. In fact, from 2009 to 2022, Ghana had deported 1,641 Chinese nationals.
According to the various annual reports of the GIS – 2,117 foreign nationals were deported from 2013 to 2016 for various non-compliances with the laws governing their stay in Ghana.
Further, the entire two-terms of the late Prof. Mills and Mr. Mahama’s administrations recorded 2,578 repatriations of foreign nationals.
Ex-President Mahama, in his interview, was specific that when he was President he “deported almost 5,000 Chinese illegal miners.”
Meanwhile, in the records of the Ghana Immigration Service, it said they were repatriated for flouting various laws governing their stay in the country.
Judging from the above, the ex-President probably meant that all the Chinese repatriated were illegal miners.
Moreover, it would be weird that such a large number of foreigners were deported and the Ghana Immigration Service did not capture it in any of their repatriation of foreign nationals’ records.
Therefore, given the figures provided by the Ghana Immigration Service, it cannot be true that ex-President Mahama during his tenure (2013-2016) deported almost 5,000 Chinese illegal miners.