– Ashanti Regional Minister tells E&P,
The battle of wills between two of President Akufo-Addo’s ministers, over Exton Cubic Group’s bauxite mining concession at Nyinahini in the Atwima Mponua district of the Ashanti Region, led one of the ministers into a nasty fly off the handle yesterday.
Simon Osei Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, cussed that Exton Cubic and Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners can go to hell, amidst biting off the heads of radio presenters some of whom he dismissed as misfits.
He also arrogantly urged Engineers and Planners, the company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, ex-President Mahama’s brother, to go to court over the seizure of their equipment.
“It has taken them too long to go to court,” the minister arrogantly told Radio XYZ in an interview yesterday.
He said there was no amount of public outcry that was going to make him release the equipment of E and P which have been seized and that the only thing that will make him release the equipment is if he sees lease documents on the permit for Exton Cubic to mine the bauxite concession at Nyinahini.
Even so, Mr. Simon Osei Mensah made it clear that the deliverer of the documents which gives the permit will determine whether it will be acceptable to him.
According to him, he does not know E&P and so only a furnishing of his office with documents covering the concession by Lands Minister, Peter Amewu, himself, is what will convince him to release E&P’s equipment.
Otherwise, “They (E&P/Exton Cubic) can go to hell!”
The angry outburst of the minister has since been indicative that the Ashanti Regional Minister does not respect the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, who is supposed to be his senior.
Mr. Osei Mensah’s demand that Peter Amewu personally furnish him with documents covering Exton Cubic’s permit to mine bauxite is in spite of the fact that the Lands Minister has ordered him to release the equipment.
The arrogant refusal is also in spite of the fact that Exton Cubic and E&P have threatened to sue over the issue in court.
Yesterday, when this looming suit was pointed out to him, Mr. Osei Mensah insulted the journalist as a misfit who did not know his job.
“I don’t think you’ve learned your journalism well, am asking about legal documents you are talking about presupposed what. All the questions you are asking are all irrelevant,” he said.
In another interview on another radio station, Mr. Osei Mensah claimed that there is a law that requires the Lands Minister to personally furnish him with Exton Cubic’s permit documents, saying if he did not if the company went to court and got judgment which the tax payer would have to pay
The Ashanti Region Minister, Simon Osei, 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 has explained that, 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 has said the Ashanti Regional 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,” a spokesperson for the company, Sammy Gyamfi had said.
But the Regional Minister said he cannot be cowed into submission threatening that he will remain resolute and follow the laid down mining laws.
Simon Osei-Mensah further dismissed claims that he is preventing the exploitation of the Nyinahini bauxite because it’s been used as collateral for a Chinese loan facility.
Earlier in the year, news reports had connected him to Asia Huang, the Chinese galamsey queen that was arrested over illegal mining. He has since denied any such connection.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Fiifi Samuels