By Gifty Arthur
More documents are being leakedfrom the vaults of the Minerals Commission, showing that Exton Cubic Group Limited, a mining company connected to businessman Ibrahim Mahama, indeed, had obtained authorization to prospect for bauxite at the Nyinahin Forest Reserve in the Ashanti Region.
The latest documents, intercepted by The Herald, follows one from the same Commission, leaked last week confirming that Exton Cubic Group, was rather involved in a competitive bidding process with three other companies contrary to what the Akufo-Addo government and its communicators, had claimed since January 2017.
The documents mentioned the three other companies; BSC Company (Ghana)Limited, Coronation Trust Resources Limited and Rocksure International, all indigenous firms, as having taken part in the bid, putting Minerals Commission and its officials in a very awkward situation, looking as though they had either been gagged or deliberately hiding the truth on the Exton Cubic transaction for political mischief.
Last week’s letter, dated January 13, 2014 was titled “Request for proposals for the development of the Kibi and Nyinahin Bauxite Ore deposits into an integrated aluminum industry in Ghana”, invited the four companies to tender for the next stage of the concession process, which later saw Exton Cubic winning.
The new documents, numbering three with some dating as far back as 2014, confirmed correspondence between the company on one hand and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource and the Minerals Commission on another hand, bringing to the fore, the rigorous and transparent processes leading to the concession Exton Cubic Group had.
The transaction started under Inusah Fuseini as Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource in 2014 and continued under Nii Osah Mills until the concession was handed over to Exton Cubic by a letter dated April 23, 2015 by an official of the Commission by name, Richard Kofi Afenu.
Former President John Mahama, had variously been accused by the Akufo-Addo government of using his privileged position to give away the Nyinahin Forest Reserve to his younger brother; Ibrahim. The company has since been denied the chance to go into the concession, leading to law suits both in Accra and Kumasi, which Exton Cubic lost for obvious reasons.
The first letter, was a reply to the then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Dr. Tony Aubyn from Exton Cubic Group dated July 29, 2014, acknowledging receipt of the Commission’s letter dated January 13, 2014.
The first paragraph read“Your letters dated 14th August, 2013 with reference MC 7/VOL 4 and January 13, 2014 with reference number MC. 7/SF.1/Vol.4 granting a Non Exclusive Permit to EXTON CUBIC GROUP LTD to conduct a six (6) months due diligence study of the Nyinahin and Kibi Bauxite Deposits and requesting Exton Cubic Group Ltd to submit Development Proposals for the Nyinahin and Kibi Bauxite deposits respectively refers”.
The company’s letter signed by its Managing Director (MD) Ahmed Amidu Suleimana, continued by boxing two issues together saying “we submit herein attached, a package containing 10 (ten) hard and 2 (two) soft copies of the Exton Cubic Ltd’s development proposal for the Nyinahin Bauxite deposits”.
It went on to say “We also refer to your letter of May 29, 2014, reference number MC. 7/SF.1/Vol 4 granting Exton Cubic Group ltd 60 (sixty) days extension on the submission date of the Development proposal”.
Another letter from the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, signed by the Chief Director, Prof. Bruce Banoeng-Yakubo, dated April 1, 2015 asked the Commission to proceed to prepare a two-year prospecting licence-subject, to the fulfillment of all the requisite requirement by Exton Cubic Limited.
This was after the Ministry had thoroughly studied the “evaluation report on proposal submitted by Exton Cubic Group for the development of the Nyinahin Bauxite Deport”. That proposal was handed over to the Minister by the Minerals Commission on 17th February, 2015.
After studying the proposal, the Minister wrote saying “The Commission is, therefore, requested to proceed to prepare the 2-year Prospecting Licence-subject to the fulfillment of all requisite requirement by Exton Cubic Limited” adding “the Commission should also incorporate the Technical Committee’s recommendation of Government’s zero policy of exporting raw bauxite in the Prospecting licence”.
Prof. Banoeng-Yakubo’s instructions to the Commission, were issued “upon a thorough study of the evaluation report on Exton Cubic Ltd in respect of the proposal submitted for the development of the Nyinahin bauxite deposit into an integrated bauxite, alumina and aluminum industry, the Hon. Minister has given his approval to the report”.
The final letter from the Minerals’ Commission was dated April 23, 2015 and signed by Acting Director, Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Richard Kofi Afenu.
It is captioned “Re: Proposal for the development of the Nyinahin Bauxite Deposit” and addressed to Exton Cubic Ghana. The Minerals Commission in the letter, informed the company that the Minister had “approved valuation report for the grant of two-year prospecting licence to Exton Cubic Group Limited”.
“We have had subsequent discussions where you are to submit site plans and duly completed application forms for statutory publication to be carried out in the districts, where the deposit is statute. Furthermore, you are to submit work programmes for carrying out the prospecting in the area. We should be grateful if you could submit these documents as soon as possible”, the Commission’s four paragraph letter ended.
Meanwhile, a desperate effort by the newly-elected Executive Director of the Danquah Institute (DI) to please his paymasters by launching an unprovoked attack on former President John Dramani Mahama, has backfired after he linked Mr Mahama’s name in the mining license granted Exton Cubic Group Limited.
Richard Ahiagbah, who until his latest appointment, was merely the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Communication Team member, described the former President in unprintable words, following his summing up of government’s role in the Power Distribution Services (PDS) limited as a “state capture”.
But new records mentioned in the above documents, have point to the fact that the Mahama brothers, never used their privileged positions to influence the process.
The new DI boss, who used the Mahamas to announce his new appointment to the NPP biased think tank, is reported to have issued a statement, specifically targeting the former President, falsely claiming that it was his decision to allocate 80 percent of Ghana’s bauxite that rather defined the term.
Part of Mr Ahiagbah first statement faulted MrMahama of a number of issues that happened under his presidency, saying he is the last person to accuse anyone of “state capture”.
He said “State capture was what stood out in the key issues underlying the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz. A bad deal which was enforced to avoid the payment of the debt owed Merchant Bank by Ibrahim Mahama.”
“State capture was the signing of the $510 million AMERI deal in 2015. State capture was the reckless triple excess take or pay power agreements which resulted in Ghana paying $80 million a month for energy we do not use.
The pieces of evidence are many, but the main point is that Mr. Mahama should be the last person to ever point an accusing finger at anyone for state capture,” he continued.
He went claiming the former President has no chance in next year’s general elections saying “Mahama had no capacity to be president in 2016 and still has no capacity to be president in 2020”, he said.
With no scintilla of shame, John Mahama after accepting his ex-gratia of GH¢568, 000 still had the audacity to contest flag bearer position with the hope of returning to the Presidency. John Mahama is an exception to the adage that ‘wisdom’ comes with age”.
He has however come out to deny that he every described Mr Mahama in derogatory manner saying the story is misleading and an attempt by the author to smear his character.
“The caption is false, misleading and amounts to a mean attempt by the author to distort and divert attention from the issues.
It is unimaginable the extent some journalists are willing to go, to engineer stories out of thin air to pollute the political space.
I have not at any time conceived or referred to the former President John Mahama in such distasteful terms.Insult has not been part of my discourse and it will not be the way I discharge my duties as Director of the Danquah Institute”, he stressed in no uncertain terms in a statement copied to Peacefmonline.com.