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5 March 2018 | Business & Finance

Minister Ordered Police To Release Exton Cubic Equipment
Minister Ordered Police To Release Exton Cubic Equipment

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, has requested that the impounded mining equipment belonging to Ibrahim Mahama’s E&P be released back to Exton Cubic Group Limited.

Mr. Osei Mensah’s action follows advice from the Attorney General urging him to do so.

This is according to a letter sighted by Citi News from the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council to the Ashanti Regional Police Command.

In August 2017, Mr. Osei Mensah, ordered the seizure of the equipment because Exton Cubic was said to be prospecting without a permit at the Nyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest Reserve.

At the time, the mining company maintained that the seizure of vehicles belonging to Ibrahim Mahama's Engineers and Planners (E&P) was unlawful because it was in possession of three required permits.

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Some of the impounded earth moving equipment
The company had also complained that it was being targeted by the government for political reasons, due to Ibrahim Mahama's relations with former President Mahama.

It further complained that the confusion in Nyinahin and the seizure of the equipment was costing o ver $40,000 daily .

But the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, eventually revoked these permits because they were found to be invalid due to non-compliance on the part of Exton Cubic.

The Sector Minister explained that the company's failure to provide key documents covering its acceptance of the lease, notice of pendency, environmental impact assessment and other statutory requirements rendered the leases invalid.

This decision was later overturned by a High Court after Exton Cubic filed an application for a review of the decision.

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Peter Amewu (R) and Simon Osei Mensah (L)
The court judgement held that Mr. Amewu exceeded his powers by withdrawing the license in line with Exton Cubic’s assertion that the Minister's decision was unreasonable, unjust, and an abuse of his powers.

The court, however did not legitimize the operations of Exton Cubic in the Nyinahini bauxite concession.

A Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, has given some indications the government intends to further pursue the case of the validity of Exton Cubic Group Limited's permits to prospect in the concession.