GIADEC undertook exploration mining at Atewa Forest unlawfully – Witness tells court

A national director and environmentalist at ARocha Ghana, Dr Seth Appiah Kubi has been ordered by an Accra High Court to submit a document proving that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued a report indicating that GIADEC had failed to do an environmental impact assessment before carrying out premining at Atewa Forest.

Appearing in court as the plaintiff’s first witness, Dr Appiah Kubi told the court during cross-examination by the Attorney General’s office that portions of the Atewa forest had been destroyed during the exploration premining by the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Dev’t Corporation(GIADEC).

State Attorney Leona Johnson Abassah queried about his capacity to describe the activities of GIADEC at Atewa Forest unlawful to which the following ensued:

AG: In Ghana who determines whether an activity either a recognizance or mining exploration is being done illegally?

Dr Kubi: The relevant government agencies i.e minerals commission, EPA.

AG: So ARocha Ghana isn’t the appropriate institution to determine and to allege that GIADEC undertook these activities without due process?

Dr Kubi: ARocha may not be an organization to determine the legality or otherwise but when the law is contravened we all can see it and cry foul.

AG: Is there any evidence of your allegation or it’s just by what you claim to have seen?

Dr Kubi: There’s a clear EPA law LI16(52) which says that if you’re undertaking a land use in the protected area of the status of the Atewa forest, then environmental impact assessment should be done if the footprint of the activity is above a certain threshold.

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Asked whether he had evidence to that effect, he answered in the affirmative, explaining to the court that ARocha Ghana had run it by EPA who indicated that GIADEC failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment before the premining activity.

When he sought permission from the court to be given the opportunity to produce the said document as part of his witness statement, the AG’s office argued that he should have filed it earlier.

But counsel for the plaintiff, Martin Kpebu prayed the court to allow him to produce the document since the need for it came after the defendant sought to discredit his testimony.

The presiding Judge overruled the objection by the AG’s office and instructed the witness to produce the document by close of the day.

ARocha Ghana and 10 other organizations have sued the Government over its plans to mine bauxite at the Atewa Forest.

They argue that the forest provides water for over 5 million Ghanaians and is home to a trove of biodiversity, many of which can only be found in the Atewa Forest in Ghana. The forest is also considered a crucial nature-based solution and carbon sink for climate amelioration and the provisioning of several ecosystem services.

By Laud Adu-Asare | |Ghana


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