Former Chief Justice (CJ) Sophia Akuffo has asserted that the lithium lease recently signed by the government is incomplete without parliamentary ratification.
Speaking as a Distinguished Scholar of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra, Justice Akuffo emphasised that in her legal view, this transaction should have been sent to Parliament for approval.
Expressing her perspective, she stated, “My legal view is that it is a transaction that requires ratification; it is not complete.
"This is a document, it is signed and sealed and delivered, but it is a deal that has to be ratified by a named authority, that is the parliament of the Republic of Ghana.”
Justice Akuffo also noted that despite claims that the agreement is favourable to the country, it is not fundamentally different from previous agreements that have not yielded significant benefits to Ghanaians.
“The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the CEO of Minerals Commission have touted [it] as favourable to Ghana, surpassing all those other Lithium leases around the world. It is not different, in principle, in the substance from any of Ghana’s previous colonial times types of agreements. Some call it the Guggisberg model, whatever description, all those agreements are the colonial type of agreements, which over the years have yielded very little good to the overall benefit of the average Ghanaian,” she explained.
In terms of modern best practices, Justice Akuffo highlighted the importance of ownership and transparency in the extraction of mineral resources.
She emphasised the need for joint venture agreements or service contracts that ensure the host country maintains ownership and can select mining companies through a transparent competitive bidding process.
The Ghanaian government recently granted a 15-year mining lease to Barari DV Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Limited, for lithium mining at Ewoyaa in the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region.
The lease incorporates new terms aimed at maximising the country's benefits, including an increased royalty rate, state and Ghanaian participation, and value addition to the mined mineral.