Exton Cubic Group Limited’s bauxite mining license, which was revoked in September last year, was yesterday restored in a judicial review by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Kweku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo.
In quashing the decision taken by the lands and natural resources ministry, the judge described the decision by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Peter Amewu, to invalidate the lease of Exton Cubic as having no legal basis as it is self-serving.
Continuing he said the minister exceeded his powers when he invalidated the lease of Exton Cubic bauxite concession.
The Ministry in September, last year, revoked Exton Cubic license on the basis that the multimillion bauxite contract granted by the previous government was not valid and therefore revoked the company’s leases and licenses to prospect in the Nyinahin bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest Reserve, describing the company’s operations there as illegal because of invalid mining leases.
Deputy Attorney-General Mr. Godfred Dame, representing government before the court, said Exton Cubic had no right to come before the court since it had no mineral rights that the court should protect.
According to Mr Dame, the grant of mineral rights was not just an event of signing a document, but subject to Parliamentary approval stressing that “the contract that the applicant was referring to showed that he had no rights at all.”
In addition, the deputy minister said even after the parliamentary approval, that ratification ought to be gazetted.
Events leading to this judgment began late last year with the seizure of mining equipment being transported to the bauxite concession in Nyinahin allegedly on the instruction of the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Atwima Mponua, William Darko.
But Exton Cubic, in an application for a review of the decision at the High Court, argued that the Minister’s decision was unreasonable, unjust, and an abuse of his powers.
The company then went to court to seek a declaration that “the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources acted ultra vires [beyond] his statutory powers when he revoked Exton Cubic Group’s mining leases.”
It also contended that revoking the license was a “breach of the rules of natural justice”, and in breach of the company’s “rights to administrative justice and property.”
Exton Cubic further sought an order quashing the minister’s decision to revoke the mining leases, and “an order of injunction restricting the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources or his agents from interfering with Exton Cubic’s rights acquired.”
In addition, the company also sought an order of injunction preventing the Ministry “from granting the rights acquired by Exton Cubic Group to any other person.”
According to the presiding judge, Justice Kweku Ackaah-Boafo, the minister had no power to declare the leases granted by his predecessor on December 28, 2016 invalid adding that in making such a decision, the minister arrogated to himself the power of an adjudicator.
By Kafui Gale-Zoyiku