Former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, has stated that the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be held accountable for the extensive explosion that occurred in Kobena-Andoh Krom, located in the Western region.
Speaking to the media, Dr. Donkor argued that the tragic incident, which claimed the lives of five individuals, resulted from the regulatory bodies’ failure to effectively execute their oversight responsibilities in ensuring the safety of both people and the environment.
This development follows the admission by the Minerals Commission that the company, STA-ADDSAMS Enterprise, had been operating illegally.
A statement from the commission also disclosed that the company had been working during nighttime to evade compliance with regulations. However, Mr. Kwabena Donkor remains steadfast in his belief that the regulatory bodies could have taken more proactive measures to prevent the catastrophe.
“The Minerals Commission and EPA have responsibilities towards the environment. The Minerals Commission is the regulator of the mining sector which includes quarrying, so it has the basic responsibility to ensure a safe environment…taking from the statement of the Minerals Commission, that their inspector had gone there to warn them, then it is a serious enforcement failure. If you had course to warn them, it also means you ought to have kept an eye on them.
“You are permitted by law to sanction and therefore if you have not executed your mandate to the letter and this catastrophe has happened, you bear responsibility for enforcement failure. EPA likewise has responsibility,” he said.
He added, “I believe it is high time we hold our regulatory bodies accountable for the powers vested in them by the Ghanaian state.”
Dr. Donkor further insisted that regulatory bodies should be held accountable for the powers vested in them by the Ghanaian state. He called for sector ministers of these regulatory bodies to impose appropriate organizational sanctions as a deterrent to others. He also suggested that the company and its directors involved should face legal proceedings in a competent court of jurisdiction.
In addition to these actions, Dr. Donkor urged the people of Shama to pursue class action against the regulatory bodies, underscoring the importance of demanding accountability from these institutions.
Samuel Erikson Abakah, the Member of Parliament for Shama Constituency, echoed these sentiments, expressing his support for legal action against the institutions responsible.
He emphasized the need for accountability, particularly in light of the hardships, loss of lives, and property damage suffered within the Sharma Constituency.
“The institutions should be held liable for the undue hardships and loss of lives and property within the Sharma Constituency. We will follow up on whose negligence has led to this incident. Those people, once investigations are done, will be laughing at the wrong side of their mouths.”
Meanwhile, the Regional Minister has established a multidisciplinary committee to investigate the cause of the explosion. The nine-member committee, led by Western Regional Minister Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, has been given a three-week timeframe to produce a comprehensive report on the explosion’s cause, potential future risks, and whether the company had proper authorization for storing explosives.