Ghana in the coming days is likely to be slapped with the “mother” of all judgment debts following the Akufo Addo-led New Patriotic Party administration’s decision to abruptly and unilaterally cancel a bauxite concession agreement entered into with Exton Cubic, an indigenous mining firm.
Very dependable information available to The aL-hAJJ reveals that, barring any last minute change of mind, President Akufo-Addo’s Land and Natural Resources Minister, Mr John Peter Amewu, will this morning announce government’s decision to cancel Exton Cubic’s Nyinahini mining lease granted the company to prospect for bauxite.
This latest development by the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry, this paper can confirm is on the strict orders of President Akufo-Addo who is said to have been angered by the recent press conference by the chiefs and people of Nyinahini.
Other sources indicate that President Akufo-Addo’s decision to cancel the mining lease to Exton Cubic was also informed by government’s plans to leverage Ghana’s natural resources for the $15 billion Chinese facility.
Government, The aL-hAJJ has gathered, will cite claims that, Exton Cubic’s current operations in the Nyinahini bauxite concession is illegal because it had breached terms of its Agreement. Assertions, Exton Cubic has strongly rejected.
This, many analysts and legal luminaries this paper spoke to say, is likely to expose the country to legal battles which could lead to another judgment debt saga, perhaps, “never seen or heard of in the country”, an astute legal brain averred.
Exton Cubic’s troubles began when vehicles and equipment belonging to its sub-contractor, Engineers and Planners (E&P), a company belonging to Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, were recently impounded at Nyinahin, allegedly, on the orders of the Ashanti Regional Minister, following suspicions the mining company was operating illegally.
While some youth in the area kicked against the operations of the mining company, another youth group in the whole Ashanti region and, traditional chiefs of Nyinahini and its environs in the Atwima Mponua District of Ashanti Region have thrown their support to the company, pleading with the Akufo-Addo government to allow Exton Cubic Group limited to proceed with its operations in the Nyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest reserve.
The Minerals Commission subsequently directed Exton Cubic to halt operations.
The order followed claims by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Exton Cubic’s current operations in the Nyinahini bauxite concession were illegal because it had breached terms of its initial permit, an assertion managers of Exton Cubic has refuted.
The company’s assertion that it was operating legally was corroborated by Mr. Amewu who confirmed that it had been given the go ahead since 2013.
“This project commenced somewhere in 2013. They began the due diligence processes through which they were granted the prospective lease around 2015. They have the entry permit from the Forestry Commission and the necessary EPA [process] was done during the exploration period,” Hon Amewu stated.
He noted that Exton Cubic was still within the exploration framework which is to end in December 2017.
But the Ashanti regional Minister and other leading members of the NPP, including Brong Ahafo regional youth organizer, Abronye DC, who has filed a case at the Supreme Court to declare the transaction void, want the mining lease canceled.
However, managers of Exton Cubic have served notice it would sue the state, arguing that it wrongfully interfered with its right to prospect in the Nyinahini Bauxite Concession.
The latest decision by the Akufo-Addo government to cancel the mining lease, some lawyers have warned, may lead to the country paying huge judgment debt if the company decides to sue the state.