A-G Fights Exton Cubic

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The Attorney-General has filed a writ at the Supreme Court seeking a reversal of a High Court decision in a case involving Exton Cubic mining company and the state.

The state in an ex-parte application filed by the Deputy Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah Dame argued that the ruling by High Court judge Kweku T. Ackaah Boafo in the case could undermine efficient administration of justice.

Ruling

Justice Boafo in a February 8 ruling had quashed the decision by John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to revok the mining lease of company in the Nyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve.

According to the court, the Minister, exceeded his powers by withdrawing the mining licenses granted the company, suspected to be affiliated to Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P).

The judge held that the decision was not grounded in law and violated the principle of natural justice adding that the Minister had acted unreasonably, unfairly and in a capricious manner.

He argued among others that the applicant, Exton Cubic Group Limited, ought to have been given a hearing before the Minister’s decision to revoke the mining leases.

A-G Fights On

Unsatisfied by the decision of the high court, the Deputy A-G is back in court three months after the ruling even though he believes the ruling is partly in the interest of government, indicating that the judge went beyond his original jurisdiction.

He is as a result asking the apex Court to intervene and reject the ruling by Justice Ackaah Boafo.

In his statement of case, Mr. Dame insists the High Court judge lacked jurisdiction to enforce or protect a right which Exton Cubic did not have.

He wonders 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.

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.”

The Deputy A-G also disagreed with the judge’s assertion 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.

Exton in Court

Exton Cubic had proceeded to court challenging the authority 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.

By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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