The Member of Parliament for Yapei/Kusawgu, John Jinapor, has blamed the explosion at the quarry site operated by some Chinese nationals at Anto-Aboso in the Shama District of the Western Region, on policy failure.
Five people on Saturday night died in the tragic explosion with many others sustaining injuries. Among the casualties were night workers, believed to be of both Chinese and Ghanaian nationality, with some suffering severe burns.
The Minerals Commission, in a statement, revealed that the quarry was operating without proper authorization.
The Commission’s mine inspectors had noticed that the company was conducting nighttime operations, presumably to avoid detection by Commission inspectors and the local task force, which included police and members of the Sand Winners and Quarry Association.
The MP wondered why the quarry company was allowed to operate without the requisite permits, bemoaning the lack of enforcement to ensure that companies comply with the country’s laws.
Speaking on the Point of View on Citi TV, hosted by Selorm Adonoo, the legislator took a dig at the regulators for failing to ensure that the quarry company acquired the license.
“I believe that we have enough laws and regulations, the problem is the enforcement. Certainly, this happened in a district, and to talk of a quarry, it’s not an underground activity. And so this idea that they were operating in the night baffles me. How did they get electricity, how did they get ECG to connect them to the grid? You might go and check, and you will be surprised to know that the district assembly had been taking taxes and levies from this company.
He stressed, “I will be very surprised if this company has been operating without paying the assembly levies. It’s clearly a policy failure, it’s clearly an enforcement failure and impunity. Foreign nationals just come to Ghana and begin to do whatever they want, and when they are arrested, politicians have the audacity to tell us that look, there’s nothing to gain from prosecuting these foreign nationals”.
He suggested that the incident is handled at the national level since the region keeps recording explosion.
“Even with Appeatse explosion, nobody was prosecuted, no punitive measure, except the fine, then these foreign nationals believe that even if they break the law, what they will do is pay a fine. I’m not too sure this matter ought to be handled at the regional level, it should be escalated at the national level, especially since this is not the first time we have witnessed this kind of explosion,” Jinapor opined.
He lamented over the report, which will eventually not be put into use to prevent future occurrences.
“My worry is that this investigation will generate a report that will gather dust and in about some few months or years to come, we will come back to discuss another explosion,” he added.
The regional minister has set up a committee to investigate the incident.
This incident marks the second explosion to strike the Western Region in less than two years, following a similar tragic event that occurred in Appeatse in January the previous year.