An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Tawiah Ackah-Boafo has ruled in favour of Exton Cubic Limited in a suit it filed challenging the revocation of their mining lease by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Mr John Peter Amewu.
Lawyers for the company had filed the suit against the decision by the minister of lands and natural resources revoking the licence of the company in the bauxite concession in Nyinahin of the Ashanti Region.
They argued the minister acted unreasonably by revoking the licence without allowing the company the opportunity to meet all requirements and therefore prayed the court to order a restoration of the license.
The company also wants to protect its rights to the concession and is thus seeking an order of injunction preventing the ministry from granting the rights acquired by Exton Cubic Group to any other person.
In his ruling, the trial judge upheld the arguments put forward by the plaintiffs and duly declared Exton Cubic Limited as the legitimate owners of the concession in dispute directing the appropriate authorities to restore their revoked leases.
He also directed that the company should be given the opportunity to remedy the areas it had faulted during the processes, describing the decision to revoke the lease as “whimsical, capricious and illegal.”
It will be recalled that the company last year was in the process of transporting heavy-duty equipment to the mining site at Nyinahin when upon a directive from the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, through the District Chief Executive, the company’s vehicles and machinery were seized and detained for weeks.
This incident was followed by series of events, which saw the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, make a U-turn confirming that indeed Exton Cubic had leases to the concession but revoked the lease after the Environmental Protection Agency and Minerals Commission took up the matter.
While Minerals Commission claimed Exton Cubic had not obtained the necessary approvals and permits required by law from the Forestry Commission, Water Resources Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or any other regulatory body, the EPA said it had not granted the company the lease to mine but to prospect.
The Minerals Commission’s claim was based on Article 268(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 5(4) of Act 703.
On the application filed at the High Court, lawyers for Exton Cubic argued that the leases granted the company “can only be validly revoked on the grounds statutorily provided for, in accordance with due process and in the manner contractually agreed upon.”
The lawyers further argued that their client, Exton Cubic, has not violated any of the grounds outlined in the various mining laws based on which a mining lease can be revoked. The lawyers categorically denied the claim that Exton Cubic failed to comply with its Environmental Assessment obligations describing it as “unfounded and false.”
They exhibited proof in court to show that “their client duly complied with all of its Environmental Assessment obligations.”
Exton Cubic alleged that the minister exceeded his powers in revoking the lease granted it.
The Nyinahin bauxite concession is within the enclave Vice President Dr. Mahmud Bawumia is using as leverage for a Chinese loan.
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU