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Court strikes out injunction against Empire Cement factory

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The Accra High Court has thrown out a suit seeking to place a perpetual injunction on the construction of Empire Cement Ghana Limited under the One District One Factory (1D1F) project.

The McCarthy Hill Residents’ Association, in August 2021, went to court to place an injunction on all construction activities by the Empire Cement factory with allegations that they will be affected by air pollution if the factory is allowed to be constructed.

The court presided over by Justice Joseph Adu Owusu Agyemang, however, struck out the application after the plaintiffs filed a notice of discontinuation.

The court went ahead to ask the residents’ association to pay an amount of GH¢5,000 to the company for wasting the time of the court and the directors of the company.

Lawyers for the company after the ruling said they were delighted by the court decision.

According to Empire, the plaintiffs have done extreme damage to the company, and they are seeking advice from their lawyer for the appropriate action to take against the plaintiffs.

The McCarthy Hill Residents’ Association was represented by Anthony Forson (Jnr) whilst the company was represented by Paul U. Dery.

The court on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, ordered all operations in connection with the construction to be halted until a determination is made.

An application to join the suit in support of Empire Cement before the determination of the court filed by a group from Tetegu, a community around the McCarthy Hill area, was later withdrawn, due to what they described as certain anomalies in their application.

The McCarthy Hill Residents’ Association earlier this year raised red flags when they had information about the construction of the factory.

They alleged that the factory will have implications on the environment and the health of the people living in and around the catchment area.

The Assembly Members within the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly (WGMA) also, on the 13th October 2021, held a press conference to kick against the closure of the Empire Cement Ghana Limited.

According to the assembly members, the factory which was about 85 percent complete fell under government’s flagship programme, “One District, One Factory (1D1F)” policy, and do not understand why it was closed down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

They called on the government to investigate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which halted construction works at the cement factory, describing their treatment towards the company as unfair.

The factory is envisaged to create about 13,000 direct and indirect jobs for the youth in the area when operationalized.

One of the Assembly Members, Mr. Andrew Oppong, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues at a press conference, accused the Pambros Salt Industries Limited of “being behind” the actions of the EPA to close down the factory and asked that government immediately intervenes in the matter.

The Assembly member said operators of the Cement Factory had assured the Assembly and all stakeholders within the municipality that, it had the needed production technology and had committed to a Gh₵60,000 bond over a three-year period to be paid to the neighbouring company should it default in its operations.

These include the use of cyclone technology and proper construction methodology to ensure an air and water-tight production environment. The company has also gone ahead to propose the establishment of an Environmental Fund where monies would be lodged, should they breach any environmental process.

Mr. Oppong expressed the need to protect investors and not to sabotage “an investment that would help reduce the unemployment rate within the catchment area.”

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