A former Member of Parliament for Builsa North constituency, Timothy Ataboadey Awontirim, has stated that Ghana’s indebtedness has given foreigners the right to illegally mine in the country. According to him, if this is left unchecked, there would be dire economic and environmental repercussions for the country. In an interview on the Prime Morning show, he said although the country is mired in debt, some foreign nationals like Aisha Huang, have exploited legal loopholes by leveraging their financial influence to gain illegitimate mining rights. “This country owes the Chinese government 1.9 billion dollars,” he told host, Rosellyn Felli on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. The former legislator called for the urgent intervention of the government in addressing regulatory gaps and fortifying measures against exploitation. Mr Awotirim added that residents in mining communities are already faced with a myriad of challenges, ranging from environmental degradation to direct impact on livelihoods. He stressed that the unauthorized mining operations have led to deforestation, soil erosion, loss of lives, and water contamination, posing severe threats to local ecosystems. “Women with unborn children (fetuses) have been destroyed, and some of the fetuses have been sent to labs for further study as a result of the colossal damage caused by illegal miners like Aisha Huang,” he added.