An aide to former President John Mahama, Mrs Joyce Bawa Mogtari, has rejected accusations that the former President influenced the bauxite deal handed over to his brother, Ibrahim Mahama, just before exiting office following the defeat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 7 December 2016 polls.
Mr Ibrahim Mahama’s Exton Cubic firm was granted the lease to the concession close to Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region on 29 December 2016, approximately a week before Mr Mahama handed over power to the then-President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo.
However, a Supreme Court ruling revoked the lease after several legal battles between the firm and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
Explaining the development on the back of accusations of political leaders executing appointments and contracts in favour of family and friends, Mrs Mogtari said Mr Ibrahim Mahama obtained the licence devoid of any intervention from his brother, who was the President at the time.
Mrs Mogtari told Felicity Nelson on Class91.3FM’s Straight Talk on Thursday, 22 November 2019 that: “Mr Ibrahim Mahama did not need a last-minute ditch attempt to mine bauxite”.
“The process had been ongoing for a very long time and, of course, they were dealing with ministerial levels of agreement [which had] nothing to do with President [Mahama]. If you had said that there was an executive approval, then I would have thought: ‘OK’, but there was nothing like that,” the former Deputy Minister for Transport stated.
She said: “Ibrahim Mahama is a businessman” who has been involved in different businesses spanning across different political administration including that of Mr John Agyekum Kufuor before Mr Mahama became President.
“I believe that the reconnaissance for this particular bauxite had been in the conversation for almost 20 years. There was always pros and cons and arguments for and against, whether or not it was even a viable decision or viable business interest.
“When Ibrahim Mahama approached the Ministry of Mines at the time [and] the Minerals Commission to start this process, there were three other companies involved. In the final analysis, he emerged as the winner. Note that this is a matter that went to the Supreme Court, and the only thing the Supreme Court said was that it should have received parliamentary approval and knowing the rancour of our politics, knowing the sort of animosity and difficulty of our transition, right through with the handing over, do you think Ibrahim Mahama was going to get any justice or fairness?” she asked the host, adding: “Note that he had been chasing this deal for well over three years”.
The Supreme Court on 31 July 2019 determined that the grant of three mining leases in favour of Exton Cubic, the company belonging to Mr Ibrahim Mahama, was null, void and of no effect.
The court, therefore, cancelled the mining lease granted Exton Cubic to mine bauxite in the Nyinahin Forest in the Atwima Mponua District.
A five-member panel, comprising Justices Julius Ansah, Jones Victor Dotse, K. Anin Yeboah, Samuel K. Marful-Saw and Prof. Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey, held that in accordance with Article 257, all minerals belong to the people of Ghana and the President holds them in trust for the people and that is why Article 268 enjoins all mining leases to obtain parliamentary ratification.