When Ms. Alice Huang, the Chinese businesswoman was busted with two container loads of rosewood timber a week ago in Tamale, many were those who wanted her scalp; they eagerly waited to see if authorities will throw the book at her without hesitation.
In other words, they long to see Ghanaian officials finally deal drastically with Chinese nationals who delight in breaking our laws because they know deep down in their hearts that they would get away with their criminal behavior.
The release from custody and eventual deportation of Ms. Aisha Huang, the infamously dubbed "Queen of Galamsey," is still a sore point with Ghanaians. It was an egregious act on the part of the NPP administration and the reason given for her release was dubious at best and did not jive with the level of her crimes.
This time, Ghanaians don't want a repeat of the Aisha saga; they crave justice and want Alice Huang prosecuted and jailed for recklessly and greedily exploiting our natural resources with the active connivance of public officials and avaricious local residents.
Much as I agree with the sentiments expressed by a civil society group in Tamale last week, calling for swift and tough action against Alice Huang, I hesitate to say that their concerns, though well placed and proper, won't be enough to stir our leaders into action for the simple reason that they our leaders have their hands in the mouths of Chinese investors in Ghana.
Put another way, the Chinese know that with a bit of money, they can buy off Ghanaian authorities or bribe them to look the other way as they degrade our environment, pollute our rivers and streams and pay our young men and women peanuts all the while repatriating their profits back home.
There is this pervasive feeling among Chinese nationals in Ghana that they can engage in unlawful behavior and won't have to lose sleep over it.
Like her contemporary, Aisha Huang before her, Alice Huang too will be treated with kids gloves by Ghanaian authorities. They won't make her pay for her crimes. That is a foregone conclusion.
Already, there are reports that Alice Huang has escaped to neighboring Togo after bail was posted on her behalf by an influential Tamale lawyer. There are now doubts if she will ever show up for her next court appearance.
One salient point in modern geopolitics is the fact that the Chinese are powerful players in Africa. And the reason for their ubiquitous presence on the continent is all because they bring the much-needed investment capital desperately poor African countries need to develop their societies.
China comes with the goodies --- the money to build our roads, schools, hospitals, stadia, dams, national theaters and hydroelectric dams, and we genuflect before the Asian giant; that is the harsh reality of life as it plays out between rich nations and poor ones.
Chinese citizens in Ghana know their country has financial leverage over our nation, so they flout our laws and laugh in our face. Be that as it may, it is up to our leaders to develop our spine, a backbone and stand up to the China. But they must first start by jailing those Chinese citizens who break our laws.