The all-knowing General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has exhibited gross ignorance in the Nhyinahini bauxite concession deal which Exton Cubic, a company linked to business mogul, Ibrahim Mahama, had its mineral rights withdrawn on the basis of political witch-hunting.
The company dragged the state, arguing that it wrongfully interfered with its right to prospect in the Nyinahin Bauxite Concession, a claim the court agreed with, calling the withdrawal by the Akufo-Addo government through the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, a “self-serving” decision.
John Boadu, had claimed that, but for the timely intervention of President Akufo-Addo, former President John Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim Mahama, would have selfishly “benefitted alone from the country’s bauxite”.
According to him, the two brothers, would have used the proceeds from the bauxite to purchase properties, including two private jets, holidaying abroad and living large at the expense of Ghanaians.
Speaking in a one-on-one interview with Nana Yaw Kesse on Peace FM’s ‘The Platform’ programme, last Wednesday, John Boadu, said unlike the former President’s decision to hand over the Bauxite deal to his brother, President Akufo-Addo, through the same bauxite, has received US$2 billion through the Sinohydro deal which is being used to construct roads and so on.
The NPP General Secretary, who during the party’s days in opposition, was known to be a regular visitor to Ibrahim Mahama’s house at Gold House in Accra, gave a false impression in the Peace FM interview that the Nhyinahini bauxite concession deal to Exton Cubic, was given to the company on basis family connections.
He boasted that, following the decision to take the concession from Exton Cubic, the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, will some get an interchange to make commuting in the metropolis easier.
But The Herald has seen several documents on the deal, which show the company going through every necessary procedure at both Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and but for the politicization of the project, and the government’s decision to use the concession for a US$2 billion barter arrangement with the Chinese, the indigenous Ghanaian company, would have been carting and exporting bauxite from the concession by now.
An Accra Fast Track High Court, was later to fault the then Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, for abrogating a mining lease granted Exton Cubic Ltd for bauxite exploration at the Nyinahini concession in the Ashanti Region.
The court presided over by Justice Kweku Ackah Boafo, in a judicial review, quashed the decision by the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry, saying the Minister’s action, had no legal basis, but rather “self-serving” decision.
But moments after the court’s decision, Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, sounding very personal, told the media that the judgment still leaves the Exton Cubic Ltd, a company linked to Ibrahim Mahama, owner of Engineers and Planners (E&P) with nothing, and hinted the court’s decision may be appealed.
Exton Cubic, had maintained it met all the criteria in acquiring the license to explore bauxite in the Nyinahini concession and accused government of political witch-hunt, since the company has been linked to a younger brother of ex-president, John Mahama.
In February last year, an official of the Exton Cubic, has told The Herald that “the company is ready to work with government to develop the bauxite concession”.
Exton Cubic went to court to reverse the revocation of its license by the sector ministry through a judicial review, and the court held that Mr. Amemu, was not clothed with such adjudicatory powers on the matter of mining in the Nhyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano Offin forest reserve in the region.
Justice Ackah-Boafo, delivering his ruling said, the decision by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister to forbid a company owned by the former President’s brother was in part, “self-serving”, the court, however, dismissed an application by Exton Cubic for an injunction restricting the minister or his agents from interfering with its acquired rights.
Counsel for Exton Cubic, Edudzi Tamakloe, hailed the decision as a strong signal to government officials who take unilateral decisions on these matters, to be advised.
But Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, maintained Exton cubic did not have the mineral rights as required by law to carry out mining activities, as held by the court.
The Ministry in September last 2017, revoked Exton Cubic license on the basis that, the multimillion bauxite contract granted by the previous government was invalid.
Arguing the matter before the court, Mr. Dame, said Exton Cubic Group Limited, had no right to come before the court since they had no Mineral rights that the court should protect.According to Mr. Dame, the granting of Mineral rights was not just an event of signing a document, adding it was a process that the law required that the participation of the sector Minister and ratification from Ghana’s Parliament.
He said mineral rights were subject to Parliamentary ratification stressing that “the contract that the applicant was referring to showed that he had no rights at all.”
Mr. Dame further argued that after Parliamentary ratification, the contract ought to be published in the gazette.
According to him, the granting of lease to Exton Cubic Group Limited was not in the handing over notes to the Transitional team as required under the Transitional Act.
Mr Dame, contended that the mining lease purported to have been offered to Exton Cubic Group was not valid, because the necessary procedures were not followed under the law.
Before the court action, Traditional leaders of Nyinahin in the Atwima Mponua District of Ashanti Region pleaded with the Akufo-Addo government to allow Exton Cubic Group limited to proceed with its operations in the Nyinahin bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest reserve.
The spokesperson of the Chiefs, Nkwawiehene Nana Kusi Amankwa Maafo II, said all the three chiefs in the bauxite concession area are fully aware of the legal processes that commenced four years ago.
They argued further that the Exton Cubic’s activity in the area bode well for the employment prospects of the people in the area and charged President Nana Akufo-Addo to live up to his pledge to boost employment.
“So for us here, we want the mining activities to go on so jobs are created in this area so were are pleading with the government, Nana Akufo-Addo, his ministers, his cabinet, to get behind Exton Cubic and allow them to work,” Amankwa Maafo II said at a press conference in Kumasi.
He noted that foreign companies look to mine in the area but, “Ibrahim Mahama is one of our own so if Exton and E&P are in partnership to do something in this area, there is nothing wrong with it… We know of foreign mining companies that have expressed interest in mining here but to no benefit for people here.”
“The foreign companies come here and work and leave us without any befitting farewell but one of our own is coming to work here and won’t allow them [Exton Cubic] to be sent away.”
Exton Cubic’s troubles began when vehicles belonging to its sub-contractor, Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P), were impounded in the Nyinahin township on orders from the Ashanti Regional Minister, saying the mining company was operating illegally.
Some irate youth believed to be organized by the District Chief Executive of Atwima Mponuahad prevented Engineers & Planners – affiliated to Exton Cubic – from depositing mining equipment at the Nyinahini bauxite concession in the TanoOffin reserve.
Interestingly, The Herald had seen documents showing that the same DCE have had some working relationship with Exton Cubic when he was an Assemblyman. He was paid for those services rendered Exton Cubic.
The Minerals Commission subsequently directed Exton Cubic to halt operations at the Nyinahin bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest reserve.
The order followed claims by the EPA that Exton Cubic’s operations in the Nyinahin bauxite concession at the time were illegal because it had breached terms of its initial permit.
But contrary to claims by the EPA that did not grant permit to Exton Cubic Group Limited to do prospecting of bauxite at Kyirayaso Concessions, Atwima Mponua and Ahafo Ano South Districts all in the Ashanti Region, documents emerged confirming the company was indeed granted the permit as far back as 2016.
The permit signed by one Ebenezer Appiah Sarpong who was then the acting Deputy Director Technical on behalf of the Executive Director permitted the company to do prospecting between June 7, 2016 to June 6, 2018.
The EPA, said it has not granted permission to Exton Cubic Group to undertake bauxite mining activities at Nyinahini in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region.
The Agency says any attempts by the company to enter the area to mine bauxite, is illegal.
The EPA had in a statement clarifying the matter said that “…Exton Cubic Group Limited has not obtained the required EPA permit under its mining lease and therefore, any attempt to enter the area for mining activity is illegal.”
The statement further said “On 29th March 2016, Exton Cubic Group Limited applied for three separate Environmental Permits from the EPA to undertake prospecting of bauxite on its Mprasaso, Kiriyaso, and Kyekyewere concessions in the Ashanti Region covering a total of 346.08 km sq. The EPA granted the Environmental Permits to Exton Cubic Group Limited on 7th June 2016.
But an aide to Ibrahim Mahama, Rafik Mahama, said the statement from the EPA and the Minerals Commission are flawed.
Exton Cubic is not engaged in mining and that they are only prospecting and that the prospecting permit was issued by the EPA on 07/06/2016.
“The PRO of EPA shouldn’t have acted based on hearsay. Exton Cubic has applied for the permit to start mining. The first letter was sent to EPA on 20/03/2017 and a second request was sent on 18/07/2017 after EPA failed to respond to the March 20 letter. For that matter, it’s flawed for the EPA PRO to state that Exton Cubic failed to write to them for mining permit.
Also, it’s flawed for the two institutions to asked Exton Cubic to stop mining because such thing is not happening. Exton Cubic is only prospecting and not mining. Mind you, the company has a prospecting permit from all the agencies last year and is due to expire in 2018.
Exton Cubic has been cooperating with all the state institutions in the mining sector for almost 4 years now. It has complied with all the lay down processes leading to the granting of the Mining lease. Mind you, Minerals Commission will not give a Mining lease to a Company if you don’t submit your Prospecting permit. This was done by Exton Cubic before the lease was granted”.