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Opinions of Thursday, 14 November 2019

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

President Akufo-Addo, the generations yet unborn are most grateful for protecting Ghana’s bauxite!

“Every mineral in its natural state in, under or upon land in Ghana, rivers, streams, water-courses throughout the country, the exclusive economic zone and an area covered by the territorial sea or continental shelf is the property of the Republic and is vested in the President in trust for the people of Ghana.”

Believe it or not, with all the numerous controversies surrounded the Mahama administration, the most telling is the 30 years bauxite mining lease which was issued by the Ghana Mineral Commission to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2017, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power.

I will dare state that we may not witness any meaningful development in our lifetime, when the siblings of the elected president keep scrambling for the resources of the nation as if tomorrow will never come.

If you would recall, somewhere in 2017, the Economic Advisor to the Vice President (Dr Bawumia), Dr Gideon Boako, revealed that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has no moral right cautioning the NPP administration against leveraging Ghana’s natural resources, specifically bauxite through its partnership with China, since the Mahama’s administration gave away over 58 percent of Ghana’s bauxite concession to a company affiliated to Ibrahim Mahama, the sibling of former President Mahama (See: NDC sold 58% of bauxite concession to Ibrahim Mahama – Gideon Boako; citifmonline.com, 29/06/2017).

Following the chilling revelation by Dr Gideon Boako, discerning Ghanaians rightly became alarmed and fretted thy souls with curses and condemnations. The vast majority of Ghanaians contended that such a venture was nepotistic and must not and cannot be allowed to proceed.

Consequently, the multi-billion cedi bauxite concession granted to the company allegedly affiliated to Mr Ibrahim Mahama was revoked in September 2017 after the former Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, had protested vehemently that the contract to Exton Cubic was invalid (dailyguideafrica.com, 24/11/2017).”

The apex court of Ghana ruled that the granting of ‘3 mining leases in favour of Exton Cubic was in breach of the Constitution and section 12 of the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703’

The Supreme Court of Ghana pointed out that the three mining leases previously held by Exton Cubic Group Limited were invalid (see: the newcrusadingguideonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 02/08/2019).

If we stroll down memory lane, the Exton Cubic’s alleged permit to undertake prospecting in the Nyinahini Forest Reserve was contested in somewhere August 2017 by the then Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Mr John-Peter Amewu.

In the heat of the moment, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, seized the equipment belonging to Exton Cubic, as Exton Cubic was alleged to be blissfully prospecting without a valid documentation at the Nyinahini bauxite concession.

Subsequently, the multi-billion cedi bauxite concession granted to Exton Cubic was revoked in September 2017 after the former Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, had contested vehemently that the contract to Exton Cubic was invalid.

Mr Amewu, however, argued poignantly that Exton Cubic did not have the necessary documentation to undertake mining (dailyguideafrica.com, 24/11/2017).”

Back then, the leadership of the Exton Cubic argued forcefully that the revocation of licenses and the confiscation of mining equipment were carried out capriciously, as the Exton Cubic was in possession of three required permits.

The leadership of Exton Cubic took the matter to the High Court of Ghana, and, on February 8, 2018, the High Court ruled that, the erstwhile Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, did not have power to revoke the mining licenses granted to Exton Cubic to prospect for bauxite.

Subsequently, the Attorney General, acting on behalf of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, submitted an ex-parte application to the apex court of Ghana, contending that ‘the lower court’s decision ‘undermines efficient administration of justice’.

The Justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana however made it clear that their verdict was premised on the fact that the Exton Cubic knowingly or unknowingly failed to comply with mandatory provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act and article 268 of the Constitution of Ghana.

The eminent Supreme Court Judges, however, maintained that the granting of ‘3 mining leases in favour of Exton Cubic was in breach of the Constitution and section 12 of the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703’.

Although some of us remain obdurate sceptics of bilateral agreements in the area of natural resources, the NPP government’s leverage of bauxite is a well-thought through agreement, given the fact that Mahama is said to have presented over 58% of Ghana’s bauxite to his sibling on a silver platter.

Whatever the case, the credit must, however, be given to discerning Ghanaians for rightly voting out the insensitive Mahama government during the 7th December 2016 election and reposing absolute trust in Akufo-Addo.

Let us, therefore, be true to ourselves, we cannot and must not allow individuals to roam carelessly on the corridors of power and take over Ghana’s scarce resources to the detriment of the poor and the disadvantaged Ghanaians.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com