Two Members of Parliament, Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini and Ernest Henry Norgbey have sued 35 mining companies, the Attorney-General and the Minerals Commission for violating Ghana’s Constitution.
In a suit filed at the Supreme Court on December 24, 2018, the plaintiffs argue that the companies which include Newmont Ghana Limited and Anglogold Ashanti have violated Article 268 of the 1992 Constitution by carrying out mining operations at a time when Parliament had not ratified their mining leases in accordance with Article 268 of the Constitution.
They further argue that unless Parliament ratifies or gives approval to a mining agreement, the holder of the mining agreement cannot carry on any mining activity; hence the 35 mining companies acted illegally.
The two legislators are therefore praying the court to restrain the mining companies from carrying on with their operations until the necessary ratification is done.
They also want the Court to order the mining companies to refund all monies or financial benefits that has accrued to them as a result of illegally mining Ghana’s natural resources.
Below is the statement of claim
SUMMARY OF STATEMENT OF CLAIMS:
1. Under our constitution especially article 268 of the constitution, a mining lease is not effective or valid unless ratified or approved by Parliament.
2. Until Parliament approves a mining lease, a mining company cannot start mining.
3. Information available shows that, almost all mining companies currently operating in Ghana are either doing so under mining leases that are yet to be ratified by parliament or were ratified by parliament long after the company had started operating or mining.
4. Most if not all of these mining companies are owned by foreigners and all the monies obtained are sent to their home countries
5. For a mining company to carry on mining when its mining lease has not been approved by Parliament is a clear breach of article 268 of the constitution.
6. The Supreme Court has in recent times stated over and over again that an agreement which is obtained in violation of the constitution is unconstitutional. Hence since the mining leases have not met the constitutional requirement then it is unconstitutional for mining companies to carry on mining.
7. In one of the Woyome cases, the Supreme Court ordered Woyome to refund monies paid to him under a certain contract on the basis that the contract was unconstitutional. In the same vein, the mining companies must be asked to refund all monies or natural resources they have mined in Ghana in breach of article 268.
8. We must not allow or aid foreigners to come into our country and take away our natural resources in clear breach of the constitution.
9. As citizens we have a constitutional duty to protect, defend and enforce the Constitution of the land.
10. The Attorney-General of the Republic in an interview on Good Evening Ghana indicated clearly that a mining lease that has not been ratified is unconstitutional and therefore void. Having taken this position, it is expected that the AG would have taken steps to stop all these mining companies operating without valid licences from continuous mining and take legal action against them to recover what we have lost as a nation from them.
11. Although some the companies in this suit have mining leases that have been ratified by parliament, the case of the Plaintiffs is that, before their licences were ratified, they were engage in mining and that is also unconstitutional and therefore they must be made to refund the monies or natural resources they mined.
12. In short the Plaintiff are saying that all the Defendants have breached the constitution of Ghana with reference to article 268 of the constitution by mining.Supreme Court to determine the fate of ANGLOGOLD, GHANA BAUXITE, ADAMUS RESOURCES and other mining companies caught in the web of illegal mining.