Mining leases without ratification: ‘Prosecute’ past ministers – Dr Manteaw

Mining leases without ratification: ‘Prosecute’ past ministers – Dr Manteaw
Source: Ghana | JoyBusiness | JAD
Date: 17-01-2019 Time: 04:01:40:pm

Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw is pushing for “prosecution” for any mines and natural minister that appended his or her signature to mining leases without the required parliamentary ratification. 

This was after it emerged that about 35 mining firms in the country are operating without the required parliamentary ratification.

Background and lawsuit 

Already two Members of Parliament - NDC MP Alhassan Suhuyini and Ernest Henry Norgbey have dragged 35 mining companies, the Attorney-General and the Minerals Commission to the Supreme Court for allegedly violating Ghana’s constitution. 

The MPs in their applications have argued that 35 companies violated article 268 of the 1992 Constitution by carrying on mining operations at a time when Parliament had not ratified their mining leases in accordance with article 268 of the constitution.

Dr Manteaw’s responds

According to Mr Manteaw, “We need to find the Minister whose signature appears under each of the contracts and hold him personally liable.” 

He also maintained that actions need to be taken to deter public officers from either deliberately or involuntarily failing to do their work, “For me, when you have gaps in your laws, then there is a certain high risk that should we have any litigation, with these companies, they can’t get away with it.”

Chamber of Mines on this issue  

The Chamber of Mines is challenging reports that most of its members are operating without parliamentary ratification for their mining leases. 

According to its President of the Chamber of Mines, Eric Asubonteng most members of the Chamber secured parliamentary ratification for their operations in 2015. 

“I know that a lot of work was done during that time and therefore I would be shocked by any publication now that most of our members don’t have parliamentary ratification for their mining leases.” 

He told JoyBusiness they would be engaging the various regulators to publish the list of the mining firms that have secured the parliamentary ratification for their operations.