Home Local Exton Cubic drags Regional Minister, DCE to court

Exton Cubic drags Regional Minister, DCE to court

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The Exton Cubic Group has dragged the Ashanti Regional Minister and the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Atwima Mponua to court for allegedly seizing its mining equipment illegally.

The company is praying the court to order the minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, and the DCE, Mr William Darko, to return its mining equipment and pay compensation for wear and tear.

The Exton Cubic Group, led by Mr Ibrahim Mahama, a brother of former President John Mahama, is a mining company whose equipment was seized by Mr Osei-Mensah for allegedly engaging in illegal mining in the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve in the Atwima Mponua District in the Ashanti Region.

At the hearing of the case yesterday, the Kumasi Human Rights Court, presided over by Mr Justice A. Kwofa, adjourned the case to Monday, March 5, 2018, after a Principal State Attorney, Ms Gyamfuah Sarpong, representing the Ashanti Regional Minister and the DCE, had told the court that she was waiting for some information from Accra.

She, therefore, pleaded with the court for more time for her office to obtain the needed information to start the case.

The court granted her request and adjourned the case to March 5, 2018.

Messrs Osei-Mensah and Darko were not in court but were represented by the Principal State Attorney.

Background

In September 2017, Mr Osei-Mensah ordered the police to seize eight trucks, one caterpillar generating set and two container offices belonging to Engineers and Planners that had been contracted by the Exton Cubic Group for bauxite prospecting in the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve.

During the seizure, the company insisted that it had all the legal authorisation from the government to work in the forest reserve.

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, explained later that the company failed to meet the legal requirements and, therefore, its lease was not valid.

He argued that the failure to obtain environmental and operational permits, as well as the various statutory infractions leading to the purported grant of the three mining leases to the company, rendered the purported leases invalid and of no effect.

Exton Cubic was granted a long lease concession by the previous government on December 29, 2016, a few days for it to hand over power to the new government.

Not satisfied with the development, the company filed an application for certiorari to quash Mr Amewu’s decision to revoke the mining leases to the company on September 4, 2017.

Court

Earlier this month, the Accra High Court upheld the application of the company and quashed the decision to revoke the mining lease granted Exton Cubic to explore bauxite at Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region.

According to the court, presided over by Mr Justice Kwaku T. Ackah Boafo, the minister acted unreasonably, unfairly and in a capricious manner when he revoked the mineral leases.

The minister, it held, should have given Exton Cubic the opportunity to be heard before revoking the leases.

However, the court held that the company did not have a valid licence because the procedures it used in securing the licence were inaccurate and unlawful.

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