The controversial bauxite mining concession granted to Exton Cubic Group Limited owned by Inrahim Mahama – younger brother of former President John Dramani Mahama – is pitching two ministers in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration against each other.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, is not happy that the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, is encouraging Ibrahim to move his equipment to the Nyinahin bauxite site for mining when there is a ban on mining in the region.
Mr Ibrahim Mahama, who claims he has concession to the mining site, moved his Engineers and Planners (E&P) heavy-duty equipment to the site but was prevented by the residents and the DCE of the area.
The vehicles were confiscated at a Nyinahin bauxite concession being explored by Exton Cubic Group Limited and some of the company’s officers were also allegedly detained.
Exton Cubic Group is owned by Ibrahim, with his wife Oona Maxwel, his brother Michael Mahama as well as a certain Kweku Pobee as directors.
A registration document sighted by myjoyonline shows that Exton Cubic Group was incorporated on August 18, 1999 and commenced operation the following day.
Brong-Ahafo Regional Youth Organizer of the NPP, Kwame Baffoe aka Abronye DC, yesterday indicated his intention to go back to court to stop Ibrahim from mining on the said concession.
Abronye had filed a suit against Ibrahim to strip him of the bauxite concession granted to him a few days to the exit of his brother from power.
The suit also cited the Attorney General as respondents and Abronye wants the Supreme Court to declare that the mining lease agreement between the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and the Exton Cubic Group Limited required parliamentary ratification under Section 5 (4) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
But Abronye said since the Supreme Court is on recess and Ibrahim has moved to the site, the court has to come in again and that this morning he is making another move.
Exton Cubic Group accused Mr. Osei-Mensah and the District Chief Executive of the Atwima Mponua, Williams Darko, of unlawfully impounding E&P’s vehicles and detaining its officers.
The Ashanti Regional minister confirmed to the media that he had indeed given the directive after the DCE had informed him of the activity on the concession.
“They asked whether I knew anything about it and I told them I had no knowledge about it and that they should impound the vehicles until we get authorization from the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources; and then I called the police to impound the vehicles.
“So we are waiting for written instructions from the minister, which should be accompanied by the various permits which should have been the normal route, and then we’ll put it on our file. We can then ask the people to go,” the regional minister told Citi Fm.
According to him, he was told by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, that only three mining companies were operating in the Ashanti Region namely, AngloGold Ashanti at Obuasi, Asanko Gold and Oware Mines Limited at Konongo “so if there are any amendments, it should be communicated to us.”
However, Mr Amewu has confirmed that his outfit granted Exton Cubic Group Limited an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession in the Tano Offin Forest reserve to prospect for bauxite.
“This project commenced somewhere in 2013. They began the due diligence processes through which they were granted the prospective lease in 2015. They have the entry permit from the Forestry Commission and the necessary EPA was done during the exploration period,” he claimed.
He noted that Exton Cubic was still within the exploration framework, which is to end in December 2017, “but the mining lease has been granted in December.”
Chief Fights DCE
Meanwhile, the chief of Nyinahini, Nana Amampene II, has clashed with the DCE of Atwima Mponua, Williams Darko, over Exton Cubic Group’s presence at Nyinahini.
He said he had sternly cautioned Mr Darko, against the seizure of equipment belonging to the company since it could create confusion.
According to the chief, he and his elders are aware of Exton Cubic Group’s bauxite exploration mission in the Tano-Offin forest reserve at Nyinahini.
“I called the DCE on phone and reprimanded him for his weird stance of seizing the equipment of the company and also instigating the youth to rise up. This is one of the things that resulted in the cruel murder of a military officer at Denkyira-Obuase recently, so I am surprised about the behaviour of the DCE.
“Yes, I called and warned him over his behaviour,” the Nhyinahin chief stated during an interview with Nhyira FM in Kumasi on Tuesday.
FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi