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‘Ibrahim’s Exton Cubic Can’t Mine Bauxite’
 
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09-Feb-2018  
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Ibrahim Mahama
 
 
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An Accra High Court (General Jurisdiction) presided over by Justice Kweku Ackah Boafo, has ruled that Exton Cubic Group Limited – the company with links to Ibrahim Mahama, younger brother of former President John Mahama – does not have a mining right as required by law.

The court, however, ruled that the Minister of Land and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, also erred in revoking the mining lease granted Ibrahim’s company by his brother’s government when it was exiting.

As a result, the court has refused two other reliefs sought by Exton Cubic Ltd, including application for an injunction restraining the minister from interfering with its (Exton Cubic’s) rights acquired by virtue of the leases.

According to the court, going through the processes leading to the signing of the mining lease, it was evident that the lease did not comply with the statute – the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703).

In his ruling, Justice Kweku Ackah Boafo said that the Minerals Commission advised Exton Cubic Limited to pay for the lease on November 10, 2016 and the company did the payment on December 12, 2016, before the Commission on December 28, purportedly recommended to the sector minister to grant the company the Mining Lease.

The judge held that the process was not in accordance with the Minerals and Mining Act, saying the Minerals Commission erred in its decision to recommend that Exton Cubic should be given the lease.

“Based on the law as stated above and a thorough review of the materials filed, I have no hesitation in concluding that the Minerals Commission had no authority to offer the Applicant the leases and request it to make payment before the recommendation,” the court held.

The judge said it is the prerogative of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to offer the leases and not the Minerals Commission, but added that the statutory timelines were not complied with by Exton Cubic.

Justice Kweku Ackah Boafo held that pursuant to Article 268 of the 1992 Constitution and Clause 1(f) of the signed lease, Exton Cubic cannot be said to have a mineral right based on the wording of the lease and constitutional provision and case law.

He said the Supreme Court had held that a failure to comply with a constitutional provision for parliamentary ratification is fatal and creates no rights.

However, Justice Boafo held that the minister exceeded his powers when he ‘clothed’ himself with jurisdiction to determine the legality or otherwise of the lease.

He said Minister Amewu arrogated unto himself the role of an adjudicator, as it seems he legitimately believed he was protecting the state resources.

Background

Ibrahim Mahama’s Exton Cubic Limited in November last year filed an application for Judicial Review at the High Court, challenging the decision of the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to revoke the mining lease granted the company.

The much-talked-about multi-billion cedi bauxite concession granted to Ibrahim Mahama’s company at the tail end of his brother John Dramani Mahama’s presidency, was revoked in September after Mr John Peter Amewu had contended that the lease granted Exton Cubic was invalid.

Ibrahim’s lawyers, Osafo Buaben, had argued that the revocation of the mining licence was a breach of the rights of Exton Cubic and that the minister did not have the power to cancel a mining lease “by just a stroke of the pen.”

He therefore asked the court to quash the revocation and as well place an interlocutory injunction on the minister to restrain him from interfering with the activities of the company.

The state, represented by Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, had consistently maintained that the leases were illegally obtained and at one point, stated that Ibrahim Mahama obtained a fake mining licence from public officers who were under ‘undue influence.’

He stated that it is the sole prerogative of the Minister for Land and Natural Resources to grant mining leases, subject to parliamentary ratification – a process the Exton Cubic licence did not go through.
 
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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