Angry Youth in Nyinahini in Ashanti Region are poised to hit the streets Wednesday in protest over a bauxite prospecting license issued to Exton Cubic Group Ltd, a company linked to the brother of former president John Mahama.
The youth insists due diligence was not followed in the issuance of the license to the company on December 29, 2016, only days before the erstwhile NDC government handed over power.
Reports say the company was given the two year license to prospect for bauxite after which an authority to mine will be issued.
Even before the prospecting license will expire, the company was also issued with a mining lease to begin mining bauxite, a situation which has angered the youth in the area.
On Tuesday they wrote a petition to the Ashanti Region Minister Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Lands Commission and other related state agencies demanding the abrogation of the mining lease.
The petition written by the Nyinahini Town elders Society partly read:
“We the indigenes, citizens of Nyinahini Atwima Mponua our attention has been drawn to a claim by Exton Cubic Group Ltd to the effect that the company had been granted a mining lease to mine the Nyinahini Bauxite.
“That we object to the granting of the said lease on the following grounds.
“That the company had never engaged the community in connection with the mining of the bauxite at Nyinahini.
“That to the best of our knowledge the company has not done any publication in the community as required by law.
“No local agreement between the company and the community.
“We want to state emphatically that we have never heard of the presence or the operations of the company in the area. Therefore we object to any attempt to grant the company a mining lease to mine the Nyinahini bauxite without the consent of the local people.”
Beyond the petition, the angry youth have vowed to hit the streets on Wednesday to press home their demand for the abrogation of the contract.
‘Fight’ by ministers
On the sidelines of the Nyinahini bauxite controversy is a tussle between two government ministers- the Regional Minister and the Land Minister- over the role played Engineers and Planners, the company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of ex-president John Mahama.
Even though Exton Cubic Group Ltd was given the mining lease it opted to use equipment owned by Engineers and Planners to prospect for the Bauxite.
Investigations by Joy News indicate that Exton Cubic Group Ltd is still owned by the Mahamas with the wife of Ibrahim Mahama and two others acting as directors.
The Regional Minister insisted he had not been briefed about the transaction and decided to seize the equipment owned by E&P.
Simon Osei-Mensah said until he is satisfied with the information regarding the transaction he would not release the equipment.
His colleague Minister John Peter Amewu had initially hinted the license issued to Exton Cubic Group was legitimate and the company had every right to begin prospecting.
He has however made a subtle turnaround, stating the details of the Exton Cubic Group contract have been submitted to the Attorney General for advice.
Amewu has since agreed to provide the necessary documentation to the Ashanti Region Minister.
As if the drama about the seizure of the equipment is not enough, there is a suit in court seeking to prevent Exton Cubic Group from proceeding with the prospecting of bauxite.
The suit filed by the Brong Ahafo Youth Organiser of the NPP, Kwame Boafo argue the mining lease was issued with Parliamentary ratification, something ought to have been done.
He is therefore requesting Ghana’s highest court to nullify the contract.
Even before the case will be heard at the Supreme Court, he has filed another seeking an interlocutory injunction against the Lands Minister and other state agencies from proceeding to grant Exton Cubic Group the power to proceed with the mining.