I won’t free Ibrahim Mahama’s equipment – Ashanti Regional Minister

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah has threatened not to release the seized mining equipment of the Engineers and Planners until he is provided with a certified document indicating that Exton Cubic Group Limited, has been given authorisation to prospect bauxite in the Tano Offin Forest Reserve.

“Until the companies involved produces a letter with all the relevant documents attached from the ministry, I am not releasing the machines…I won’t let the equipment go because I deal with ministers and not companies…,” Simon Osei-Mensah threatened.

Speaking on Accra-based Okay FM, the regional minister confirmed that he indeed ordered the seizure of the mining equipment.

Background

The Ashanti Region Minister, Simon Osei, clashed with his colleague Lands and Natural Resouces Minister, Peter Amewu, for authorising the prospecting of bauxite in the Tano Offin Forest Reserve.

Mr. Amewu’s Ministry, through the Forestry Commission, recently issued a license to Exton Cubic Group Limited, to mine bauxite in the Ashanti Region amidst a clampdown on illegal mining activities.

The mining company, in turn, engaged E&P, a company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of former President John Mahama. E&P was to use its equipment to undertake a prospective service.

But hours after E&P moved its men and logistics to the site, the police through the Atwima Mponua District Chief Executive (DCE) impounded the E&P equipment, citing improper documentation.

Mr. Osei-Mensah explained to Joy News on Monday, he directed the equipment to be seized because he had not been properly briefed about the work of Exton in the region.

He said he requested for appropriate documentations from Mr Amewu to be sent to him but that has not been done.

Legal mining

Exton Cubic Group Limited has said the Ashanti Regional Minister’s assertions that it is scheming with E&P to engage in illegal mining at the Nyinahini bauxite concession were false.

According to the Exton, the Nyinahini Bauxite concession was legally acquired on August 14, 2013.

“We wish to state unequivocally that Exton Cubic Group has never engaged in any illegal mining activity in Ghana,” Exton said in a statement following the seizure of trucks and other equipment belonging to E&P.

“It came to us as a surprise when without any lawful excuse, the District Chief Executive of Atwima Mponua District Assembly and the Ashanti Regional Minister caused the trucks of the subcontractor to be impounded in the center of the Nyinahini township,” a spokesperson for the company, Sammy Gyamfi had said.

But the Regional Minister said he cannot be cowed into submission threatening that he will remain resolute and follow the laid down mining laws.

Simon Osei-Mensah further dismissed claims that he is preventing the exploitation of the Nyinahini bauxite because it’s been used as collateral for a Chinese loan facility.

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