Akufo-Addo’s Rule Of Law To Be Tested

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…Gov’t Sued For Abuse Of Power

After a number of threats, the embattled mining company, Exton Cubic Group Limited, has sued the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, for abusing his powers in the revocation of their mining permits.

Officials of Exton Cubic, believe the revocation of the permits by the Akufo-Addo government, is politically motivated.

The Minister, John Peter Amewu, revoked the company’s leases and licenses to prospect in the Nyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest Reserve, describing the company’s operations there as illegal, because of invalid mining leases.

Ironically, ahead of the revocation, the same minister, had publicly stated on Accra-based Joy FM that, government was satisfied with Exton Cubic for meeting all requirements to prospect for Bauxite in the Nyinahini concession.

Prior to this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), had indicated that, Exton Cubic, reneged on its commitments to submit a liability estimate of environmental degradation, among others.

Interestingly, officials of the EPA, had earlier given the green light for the Ghanaian company to start prospecting for the minerals.

Again, in the heat of the confusion, the Akufo-Addo government, quickly sacked Dr. Tony Aubynn, the Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission and replace him with Kwaku Addai Antwi-Bosiako, who was Managing Director of the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Limited.

Within a matter of three days, Mr. Antwi-Boasiako, also cancelled every arrangement the commission had with Exton Cubic, but held onto several statutory payments made to the Commission.

 The matter came to public attention, when earth moving equipment and vehicles belonging to Exton Cubic’s sub-contractor, Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P), were impounded on the orders of the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah at Nyinahin, the community where the forest reserve is located.

But Exton Cubic, in an application for a review of the decision at the High Court, has argued that the Minister’s decision, was unreasonable, unjust, and an abuse of his powers.

The company, among others, is seeking a declaration that “the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources acted ultra vires [beyond] his statutory powers when he revoked Exton Cubic Group Limited mining leases.”

It also contends that, revoking of its license was “breach of the rules of natural Justice”, and in breach of the company’s “rights to administrative justice and property.”

Exton Cubic is further seeking an order quashing the minister’s decision to revoke the mining leases, and “an order of injunction restricting the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources or his agents from interfering with Exton Cubic’s rights acquired.”

Aside from this, the company, also wants to protect its rights to the concession, and is thus seeking an order of injunction preventing the Ministry “from granting the rights acquired by Exton Cubic Group to any other person.”

Since the start of this saga in August 2017, Exton Cubic has threatened to use available legal means to overturn government’s revocation of its license, although Mr. Amewu maintained that, the mining company’s processes in acquiring the lease were questionable.

“The processes leading to the grant of the license were not quite clear and were not transparent, very opaque. So it called for a lot of questions. We believe that if the processes had taken time and the duration for the various permits were within the framework, this issue wouldn’t have come out,” the sector Minister said on the matter.

This was on the orders of the Ashanti Regional Minister, following suspicions the mining company was operating illegally.

At the time, Mr. Amewu, came out to say that his Ministry, had granted Exton Cubic Group Limited an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession.

As the confusion ensued between government and Exton Cubic, it later emerged that, Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, had used the Nyinahin bauxite concession as collateral for a US$15billion cash expected from China, which the Akufo-Addo government intends to use for some infrastructural projects.

In notes he presented at Africa-China Joint Research and Exchange program in Accra in July, Bawumia, mentioned 20 categories of investments the government has planned to use the money for.

Ghana wants to give “less than 5%” of its bauxite reserves in exchange for US$15billion in a joint venture agreement, hence taken over the Nyinahin bauxite concession from Exton Cubic.

Ghana has 960 million metric tonnes of Bauxite reserves worth $460 billion. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is keen to raise money to fulfil a long list of campaign promises.

Dr. Bawumia said the government plans to build the first-ever interchange in the Northern region while an integrated Aluminium industry envisaged by Ghana’s first president will take off in earnest.

Ghana needs to spend at least $1.5 billion annually to close its infrastructure deficit. The money from China is therefore 10 years worth investment.

Details of Bawumia’s notes said China Railway International Group Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide $10 billion to support the components of a massive infrastructure development programme spanning the mining, industrial and railway fields.

In addition, the Chinese government has provided Ghana the following grants:

  • A grant of about RMB100 million for infrastructure development- We will use this to acquire about 500 vehicles for the police
  • About RMB 50 million for the Ghana Armed Forces
  • 4 patrol boats for the Ghana Navy
  • Fund construction of 90 bridges across the country
  • Fund construction of Interchange at ‘Point 7’ in Tamale. This would be the first ever interchange in northern Ghana.
  • Build a new Accra Psychiatric Hospital

A major part of our conversation in China was the Integrated Aluminium Industry development. This involves development of the Nyinahin and Kyebi Bauxite Mines and an Aluminium Refinery.

Construction of the  Eastern, and Central Rail Lines, including its extension to Paga in the north of the country, the Boankra, Buipe Inland Ports and Paga inland terminal, 910 km of road network.

Four Interchanges (Sofoline, Oforikrom, PTC Takoradi, Danquah Circle). Ten industrial parks in 10 regions.

25,000 houses for the security services, 100,000 social housing units, 25 district hospitals, Western Regional Hospital, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of 8,286 collapsing classrooms,

Upgrading 42 SHSs into model schools, Teaching and Learning Materials, 228 Buses and 198 Pickup trucks for schools Irrigation and water transmission systems in northern Ghana.

“We are undertaking all of these projects, not by borrowing but with less than 5% of our refined bauxite reserves,” he observed.

 

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