General News of Tuesday, 15 May 2018
The Attorney General has filed a writ at the Supreme Court asking the justices to quash a decision by the High Court in a case involving mining company Exton Cubic and the state.
The writ filed ex-parte (one party application) by the Deputy Attorney General Godfred Dame says the ruling by High Court judge Ackaah Boafo in the Exton Cubic case could undermine efficient administration of justice.
Justice Boafo in his February 8 ruling early this year stated the Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu had no power to revoke the mining licenses granted to Exton Cubic to prospect for bauxite.
He also ruled the company breached several processes in its acquisition of a mining license, a situation that makes it impossible for Exton Cubic to be deemed to have a “mining right as required by law.”
Even though Godfred Dame believes the ruling is partly in the interest of government, he was quick to add that the judge went beyond his original jurisdiction.
He is therefore praying the Supreme Court intervenes and reject the ruling by Justice Ackaah Boafo.
In his statement of case, a copy of which has been intercepted by Joy News, Godfred Dame insists the High Court judge lacked jurisdiction to enforce or protect a right which Exton Cubic did not have.
He said the wrongful assumption of jurisdiction of the court by the judge is also in violation of Act 703.
Clause 5 of the Act (703) states “Subject to subsections (4) and (5), the Minister on behalf of the President and on the recommendation of the Commission may negotiate, grant, revoke, suspend or renew mineral rights in accordance with this Act.”
Exton Cubic owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of ex-president John Mahama had proceeded to court challenging the power of the Minister to revoke three licenses it received to prospect for bauxite during the tenure of the Mahama-led administration.
The company in part accused the Minister of being arbitrary and asked the court to set aside the decision by the minister to revoke its mining licenses.
The judge in his ruling chided the Minister for being “self-serving” but also condemned the company for failing to apply themselves to the correct procedures in acquiring their license.
But the Deputy Attorney General insists Judge Ackaah Boafo erred in his ruling.
He does not understand why the judge attempted to, in his ruling “enforce purported rights acquired under mining leases which had not received parliamentary ratification and thus were of no effect.”
“Respectfully, the acquisition of a mineral right is a process culminating in the ratification of any mining lease by the Parliament of Ghana and not an event occurring only after the purported signing of the mining leases without regard to the mandatory statutory preconditions,” the statement of case said.
The Deputy Attorney General also vehemently disagreed with the judge’s criticism that the Lands Minister “was not a court of law or had no adjudicatory power” to revoke the Exton Cubic license.
He stated the Minister only complied with the law by communicating to Exton Cubic that purported leases were invalid and of no effect because the legal processes were not followed in acquiring same.
On the strength of these arguments, Godfred Dame wants the justices of the Supreme Court to nullify the ruling of the High Court judge.