General News of Saturday, 23 September 2017
The Effutu MP, Alex Afenyo-Markin, believes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been enforcing the laws selectively.
He singled out the Ghana Bauxite Company as operating outside the remit of the law at the Public Accounts Committee on Friday and later on Eyewitness News.
The Ghana Bauxite Company limited has been mining since 2001, Mr. Afenyo-Markin noted, but said he knew for a fact that “Ghana Bauxite Company’s agreement with government has never come to Parliament and they do not have the requisite documentation.”
“So if they, the EPA, want to apply the law and want to be fair, they should also stop Ghana Bauxite from operating. It is just a matter of equality before the law.”
The concerns with the EPA follow the clamp down on mining company, Exton Cubic Group Limited, culminating in the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, directing the company to discontinue exploration for bauxite in the Tano Offin Forest reserve because of an invalid mining leases.
Prior to this, the EPA had already indicated that Exton Cubic reneged on commitments to submit a liability estimate of environmental degradation, among others.
Questionable tax waiver
But Mr. Afenyo-Markin feels the EPA may be picking and choosing as he viewed Ghana Bauxite to be operating outside the remit of the law at its base in Awaso.
“In the case of Ghana Bauxite, they are not even paying taxes. They are relying on a supposed memorandum of understanding between them and government and we all know that when it comes to taxation, it is only Parliament that can waive.”
The MP raised this issue on the Floor of Parliament, and the matter was referred to the Finance Committee where Ghana Bauxite appeared and “conceded that indeed their agreement with Ghana has not come to Parliament.”
He stated further that, the concerns he was raising was “to point out to EPA that they must respect the constitution and their enabling acts and enforce the law.
“If you are saying that Exton Cubic has not met the necessary requirements, please apply same to all these mining companies so that you don’t g and act in a certain manner for the government to take the bashing as if it is political… EPA must be seen to be working and dealing with the law without fear, favor or looking at personalities in accordance with the constitution.”