I Didn’t Sell Forest Land For Bauxite Mining – Osah Mills

A former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, has sought to clarify reports that he leased 58 percent of Ghana’s bauxite concession in a forest reserve area to Ibrahim Mahama, brother of former President Mahama.

According to him, although he consented to the leasing of a land for the purpose of bauxite mining, it was not in the Atiwa forest area, as some members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government were alleging.

The Economic Adviser to the Vice President, Dr. Gideon Boako, earlier this week said the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) government sold 58 percent of Ghana’s bauxite concession to a company belonging to the brother of the former President.

“They sold 58 percent on 29th December 2016 when they were leaving office. The NDC government sold 58 percent of our bauxite concession to the former President’s brother. The one they sold to him, was it possible to mine or not. They should stop this argument,” Mr Boako claimed in an interview with Citi News.

A subsequent document sighted by Citi News indicated that, the ministry, under Nii Osah Mills, signed the agreement on December 29th after they had lost the election, to allow Exton Cubic Group Limited mine bauxite on an agreed parcel of land.

But according to Nii Osah Mills, the agreement was signed in accordance with law. He could not verify whether indeed the company belongs to President Mahama’s brother.

“It is simply a mining lease under Ghana’s laws. This was a contract to lease lands for the purpose of mining bauxite deposits.”

Reports suggested that the area of land leased to the company was in a forest reserve in the Akyem area in the Eastern Region, but Nii Osah Mills said it was untrue.

“I don’t believe that the document I signed related to mining in a forest. I don’t believe so,” he said on Eyewitness News.

There is a brewing controversy over plans by the government to leverage on the country’s bauxite deposits to contract a $15 billion facility from the Chinese government.

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia is alleged to have said that Ghana will “use what we have to get what we want,” referring to the use of the country’s natural resources to contract the loan.

Some groups, including A-Rocha Ghana, an environmental NGO in the country, has spoken against the move saying it will among other things deprive over 5 million Ghanaians access to potable water.