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22 August 2017

Ashanti Region Minister Faces Possible Legal Action For Seizing E&P Mining Equipment

The Ashanti Region Minister has been given close of day Tuesday to release seized equipment belonging to Engineers and Planners or face legal action.

“We know that this government believes in the tenets of the rule of law; that you just cannot impound and seize the [equipment] so our lawyers are already involved. Already we facing a lot of financial losses. We are going to go through the legally laid down process,” Communications Officer of Exton Cubic Group Limited, Samuel Gyamfi, told Joy News.

The Ashanti Region Minister, Simon Osei, had clashed with his colleague Lands and Natural Resouces Minister, Peter Amewu, for authorising the prospecting of bauxite in the Tano Offin Forest Reserve.

Mr. Amewu’s Ministry, through the Forestry Commission, recently issued a license to Exton Cubic Group Limited, to mine bauxite in the Ashanti Region amidst a clampdown on illegal mining activities.

The mining company, in turn, engaged E&P, a company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of former President John Mahama. E&P was to use its equipment to undertake a prospective service.

But hours after E&P moved its men and logistics to the site, the police through the Atwima Mponua District Chief Executive (DCE) impounded the E&P equipment, citing improper documentation.

Mr. Osei-Mensah explained to Joy News on Monday, he directed the equipment to be seized because he had not been properly briefed about the work of Exton in the region.

He said he requested for appropriate documentations from Mr Amewu to be sent to him but that has not been done.

Exton Cubic Group Limited said the Ashanti Region Minister’s assertions that it is scheming with E&P to engage in illegal mining at the Nyinahini bauxite concession were false.

According to the Exton, the Nyinahini Bauxite concession was legally acquired on August 14, 2013.

“We wish to state unequivocally that Exton Cubic Group has never engaged in any illegal mining activity in Ghana,” Exton said in a statement following the seizure of trucks and other equipment belonging to E&P.

“It came to us as a surprise when without any lawful excuse, the District Chief Executive of Atwima Mponua District Assembly and the Ashanti Regional Minister caused the trucks of the subcontractor to be impounded in the center of the Nyinahini township.

“After going through all the laid down procedures required by law, Exton Cubic Group Limited was granted a mining lease for the Nyinahini Bauxite Deposit by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on the 29th of December 2016. This mining lease was registered at the lands commission of Ghana on the 9th of January 2017,” the statement added.

It said it is “yet to receive any official communication from the authorities concerned as to why our sub contractor’s trucks and equipment have been impounded.”

Exton Cubic Group stressed its legal team is engaging the police over the issue “and it is our hope that the police will release the impounded trucks as soon as possible to forestall any further pecuniary losses to us.”

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