Supreme Court Dismisses Ibrahim Again

Ibrahim Mahama

The
Supreme Court has dismissed an application by President John Dramani Mahama’s younger
brother, Ibrahim Mahama, over the controversial Nyinahin Bauxite concession in
the Ashanti Region.

The
application was seeking a review of the decision of a five-member panel of the
court to quash the ruling of an Accra High Court judge, 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 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.

This
was after the Office of the Attorney General had gone before the Supreme Court to
challenge the High Court ruling which it said was protecting a non-existing
right.

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 belonged to the people of Ghana and
that the President held same in trust for the people, which was why Article 268
enjoined 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.

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 did
not exist in law.

Review

Exton
Cubic later filed an application for review against the Supreme Court decision
which was supposed to have brought finality to the matter.

In
the application, Ibrahim’s company averred that the five-member panel committed
an error when it went ahead to quash the decision of an Accra High Court which
was in favour of the company.

Appearance

Appearing
before the court yesterday, Osafo Buabeng, lawyer for Exton Cubic, argued that
the issue which went before the High Court judge was a review of a procedural
impropriety and did not concern the merits of the decision of the minister but rather
whether the minister complied with Section 68 of the Minerals Act (Act 703).

He
said the Supreme Court committed an error which resulted in a special
circumstance under which they could seek a review.

Mr.
Buabeng further argued that the Supreme Court could only enforce the
Constitution when its original jurisdiction was invoked and not when its
supervisory jurisdiction was invoked as was done in this case.

Opposition

The
application was opposed by Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, who
said the applicant did not show any special circumstances as provided by the
Supreme Court rules for seeking review.

He
argued that the application was just a rehash of the submissions made in
opposition to the AG’s application which led to the quashing of the High Court
ruling.

Decision

The Supreme Court, in a majority decision of 5-2, dismissed the application with Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah, Justices Julius Ansah, Jones Dotse Marful-Sau and Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey dismissing it, while Justices Yaw Apau and Gabriel Pwamang dissented.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak

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