Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu and the Chief of Nyinanhini in the Ashanti Region, Nana Amanpene Twum Boateng II, have separately collapsed another round of anti-Ibrahim Mahama agenda, which has become the order of the day for some time now, anytime the name of the business mogul’s emerges.
But it is becoming clear that, some people, including members of the Akufo-Addo government, as well as traditional rulers, have had enough and are out to defend the businessman, who will soon outdoor his private cement plant in Tema to employ thousands of Ghanaians and rival Ghancem, Diamond Cement, Dangote Cement and also check the influx of Chinese cements.
Last Monday, an attempt to spark another bout of attacks on Ibrahim Mahama, led by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, with supports from Atwima Mponua District Chief Executive (DCE), Williams Darko, took a bad turn when two equally prominent people stepped in to disintegrate their political games with the Nyinahini Bauxite concession.
It started with the Lands Minister and Ashanti Regional Minister, clashing over Exton Cubic Group, an indigenous company cleared to mine bauxite at Nyinanhini in the Ashanti Region.
Two top government officials are breathing fire down the neck of each other over a misunderstanding in a bauxite deal involving the use of equipment owned by Ibrahim Mahama, younger brother of ex-President John Mahama.
The Lands Ministry through the Forestry Commission, issued a license to Exton Cubic Group Limited to mine bauxite in the region on June 20, 2017. Exton Cubic, in turn engaged Engineers and Planners (E&P), a company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, to use its equipment to undertake a prospective service.
But hours after E&P moved its men and logistics to site, the police through the Atwima Mponua DCE, impounded its equipment, citing improper documentation.
Mr. Osei-Mensah, claimed on Joy News’ Monday that, he directed the equipment to be seized, because he had not been properly briefed about the work of Exton Cubic in the region.
He said, he requested for appropriate documentations from Mr. Amewu to be sent to him, but that has not been done.
“When I receive it [document] I will respond to it appropriately,” he said, adding he is not relying on an oral conversation he has had with the Lands Minister on the matter.
The June 20 mining permit letter to Exton Cubic Group Limited was signed by Forestry Commission CEO, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.
It was copied to heads of some key institutions, excluding the Ashanti Regional Minister.
A displeased Osei-Mensah said he would release the equipment after the Lands Minister, has provided him documents covering operations of the company.
The setback comes at a time Exton Cubic Group, has been sued by the NPP Brong Ahafo Regional Youth Organiser, Kwame Baffoe, challenging the bauxite concession granted it in late December, 2016.
The firebrand NPP executive popularly known as Abronye DC, wants the Supreme Court to declare that the mining lease agreement between the past government and the company required parliamentary ratification under Section 5(4) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
But Exton Cubic Group, has said it is legally mandated to engage in bauxite mining in the country.
Communication Officer for Exton Cubic Group, Samuel Gyamfi, said as far as August 14, 2013, the company was granted a due diligence permit to engage in exploration.
This was followed with a mining lease permit in December 2016, and the clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2017, he said.
“We are not engaged in illegal mining activities,” he told Evans Mensah, adding they were surprised equipment of E&P were impounded without proper communication.
He said, the company has dispatched its lawyers to meet the police in Atwima Mponua to settle all outstanding issues to have the equipment released.
Chief of Nyinanhini, Nana Amanpene Twum Boateng II, also took a swipe at Atwima Mponua DCE for his role in an attack on a mining concession belonging to Exton Cubic Group Limited.
He accused Williams Darko of inciting the youth to seize mining equipment and prevented the partners the firm, E&P, from entering the concession.
Nana Twum Boateng, explained he had cautioned the DCE over mobilizing the youth to create what he described as unnecessary tension in the area.
Speaking to the host of Nhyira FM’s ‘Kroyi mu Nsem’, Kofi Asante Ennin, Nana Twum Boateng, also criticized the DCE, of failing to consult the traditional authority before mobilizing the youth to stir controversy and tension in his traditional area by confiscating heavy duty equipment belonging to E&P, partners of Exton Cubic.
“I was disappointed when I heard the Mr. Williams Darko, the DCE on information center calling on the youth to block the heavy duty machines access to the bauxite concession,” he said.
The chief said, the DCE’s action, could have triggered the events, akin to what was recorded in the Central Region town of Denkyira Obuasi, which led to the lynching of an army officer.
“I don’t want what happened at Denkyira Obuasi to befall my people,” the chief stressed.
Meanwhile, Nana Twum Boateng, is excited Exton Cubic Group Limited, has taken over the bauxite concession.
He is optimistic the move will create employment for the youth and also generate revenue for the district and nation.
Williams Darko, has since described as false, claims by the Chief of Nyinanhini, that he incited the youth in the area against Exton Cubic Group Limited, but that he only prevented the partners of the mining firm, E&P, from entering the bauxite concession.
But reacting to the issue on Adom News yesterday, Williams Darko, expressed shock at the assertions of the chief.
He maintained that he never mobilized the youth in the area to create unnecessary tension in the area.
“I personally stopped the mining equipment of E&P from entering the concession until I get the necessary documentations and later informed the police. I never mobilized the youth,” he stressed.
The Atwima Mponua DCE, believes the chief is reacting on hearsay since he was not there when the incident occurred.
Williams Darko who has vowed to protect state property said the equipment will remain in the custody of the police until the right things are done.
“I have vowed to protect any property of the state and I won’t allow anybody to mine the in bauxite concession until they bring me the necessary documents,” he stated.
Meanwhile, officials of E&P, have asked the Ashanti Regional Minister to release the equipment or face court action.
Spokesperson of Ibrahim Mahama, Rafik Mahama, said E&P was not in the region to operate illegally.
“We expect that the regional minister will do what is legally required of him to release the trucks,” he stated.
Exton Cubic Group Limited is also considering taking legal actions against the police and some authorities in the Ashanti Region for what it called the unlawful seizure of Ibrahim Mahama’s E&P vehicles and mining equipment.
According to the company, they have acquired all the necessary documentation and permits to operate at Nyinahini.
The communications officer of Exton Cubic Group, on Citi News said “we have many legal options available to us and as I speak to you, our lawyers are in a meeting considering these options and I am sure that when they are done, they will advise us as to the appropriate steps to take.”
He noted that, his company has followed all due process to the letter and has “not defaulted in any way.”
“The Atwima Nwabiagya District Assembly, which is the district assembly with jurisdiction over the Tano Offin forest reserve, is in the know. The Forestry Commission copied them when it issued the forest entry permit to us. They have the documents.”
He added that these developments could have been avoided, if the Regional Minister, had cross checked before ordering the seizure.
“… on record will be evidence of dealings between our company and other government agencies and he could have easily double checked with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Ministry Environment, Science and Technology, the Forestry Commission and all these state institutions.”