The government has directed the release of mining equipment owned by Engineers and Planners (E&P), but confiscated by the Ashanti Region Minister in September last year
The equipment were used in carrying out exploratory activities on behalf of Exton Cubic until it was confiscated.
On the orders of the Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah. the police seized eight trucks, one caterpillar generating set and two container offices belonging to E&P owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of former President John Mahama.
But the decision to release the equipment follows a High Court ruling on February which determined among others that, “Exton Cubic has no mineral rights claim” in the Nhyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano Offin forest reserve in the Ashanti Region.
In a letter dated February 19, 2018, the Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo directed the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah to release the equipment immediately to the mining firm “In light of the decision of the High Court”.
Acting on the A-G’s directives, the Regional Minister in a letter to the Regional Police Command, asked that details of the equipment to be taken before they are released.
“You are to take particulars of all the equipment before they are released,” the letter directed while requesting the police to ensure that Exton Cubic acknowledges receipt of same.
In September 2017, Mr Osei-Mensah ordered the police to seize eight trucks, one caterpillar generating set and two container offices belonging to Engineers and Planners that had been contracted by the Exton Cubic Group for bauxite prospecting in the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve.
During the seizure, the company insisted that it had all the legal authorisation from the government to work in the forest reserve.
However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, explained later that the company failed to meet the legal requirements and, therefore, its lease was not valid.
He argued that the failure to obtain environmental and operational permits, as well as the various statutory infractions leading to the purported grant of the three mining leases to the company, rendered the purported leases invalid and of no effect.
Exton Cubic was granted a long lease concession by the previous government on December 29, 2016, a few days for it to hand over power to the new government.
Not satisfied with the development, the company filed an application for certiorari to quash Mr Amewu’s decision to revoke the mining leases to the company on September 4, 2017.