Former President John Mahama’s younger brother, Ibrahim Mahama, is bent on taking over the controversial bauxite concession at Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region.
The Supreme Court on July 31, in a unanimous decision, declared that three mining leases granted Ibrahim’s company – Exton Cubic Group Limited – were null and void due to the fact that proper procedures were not followed in securing the leases.
Not satisfied with the highest court’s action, Exton Cubic has filed an application for review challenging the decision of the Supreme Court to declare the three mining leases as null, void and of no effect.
The much-talked-about multi-billion long lease bauxite concession was granted to Ibrahim’s company at the tail end of his brother’s Presidency on December 29, 2016 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had lost the December 7, 2016 general election miserably and was on its way out of office.
The company in early 2017 moved heavy-duty machines into the forest near Nyinahin in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region to start exploratory activities but was stopped by both the district and regional authorities, compelling Exton Cubic to go to court to challenge the action of the authorities.
There were projections that about 75 per cent of Ghana’s bauxite deposits estimated about $180 billion were handed over to Ibrahim by then President Mahama.
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has even asked former President John Mahama to apologize to Ghanaians for that singular action.
NPP General Secretary John Boadu, addressing the media on Sunday in the Central Region, said Ghanaians were lucky to have elected President Akufo-Addo because “he (Mahama) would have added our gold reserves to the bunch of goodies he gifted his brother,” adding that “this is not a fact built from insinuations and speculations. These are documented!”
The five-member panel made up of Justices Julius Ansah, Jones Victor Dotse, K. Anin Yeboah, Samuel K. Marful-Saw and Prof. Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey had held that in accordance with Article 257, all minerals belong to the people of Ghana and the President holds same in trust for the people and that is why Article 268 enjoins all mining leases to obtain parliamentary ratification.
The court also quashed the ruling of Justice Ackah-Boafo which was given last year in favour of Ibrahim when the High Court held that then Lands and Forestry Minister John Peter Amewu erred in cancelling Ibrahim’s lease.
The Supreme Court said the High Court judge had no jurisdiction to grant certiorari to protect a non-existent right and warned the lower courts to be careful in issuing orders of certiorari to protect rights which do not exist in law.
In an affidavit in support of Exton Cubic’s application for review against the Supreme Court decision which was supposed to have brought finality to the matter, Ibrahim’s company is averring that the five member panel committed an error when they went ahead to quash the decision of an Accra High Court which was in favour of the company.
Exton Cubic is contending that the main and only reason for which the Supreme Court quashed the decision of the High Court was that the court having reached the conclusion that that the company had no mining right committed an error apparent on the face of the record when it proceeded to quash the letter written by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
It is saying that the Supreme Court itself “committed an error of law apparent on the face of the record when it quashed the ruling of the High Court on the ground above summarized.”
The affidavit avers that the decision of the High Court was only enforcing the fundamental human rights to administrative justice of the company as guaranteed by Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution.
The affidavit also faults the Supreme Court for invalidating the three mining leases when Parliament has not had the opportunity to ratify the agreement or not.
It further states that although such agreements require parliamentary ratification, there is no indication as to the nullity of the agreement if the ratification is pending before Parliament.
The affidavit further avers that the Supreme Court panel exceeded its jurisdiction “when in the exercise of its supervisory jurisdiction it interpreted and/or enforced the provisions of Article 256(6) and 268 of the Constitution”.
The decision of the court stemmed out of an application by the Office of the Attorney General challenging the decision of an Accra High Court which granted a certiorari quashing the decision of then Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, revoking the three mining leases.
The court, presided over by Justice Kweku Ackah Boafo, had held that the minister exceeded his powers when he ‘clothed’ himself with jurisdiction to determine the legality or otherwise of the lease.
The court, however, ruled that Exton Cubic Group Limited did not have a mining right as the leases were not acquired through the proper means as required by law.
It was this decision that the state’s writ deposed to by Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, challenged and won at the Supreme Court.
The case is scheduled for October 22.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak