The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel AbdulaiJinapor, has assured that anyone found culpable in the fatal Appiatse explosion will face the full rigours of the law.
He said the government was committed to ensuring that justice was served and that anyone whose actions and inactions could have contributed to the deadly incident would bear the consequences.
“In addition to rebuilding the community, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is committed to ensuring that anyone found culpable was made to face the full rigours of the law.
“I can assure the victims and affected families that no one would be shielded,” he stated.
The Minister was speaking in Accra yesterday when a report on the incident was presented to him by the three-member committee.
Chaired by Benjamin Aryee, Advisor to the Minister and former Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, the report ascertained whether or not the legal regime on the manufacture, transportation and use of explosives in the mining industry was adhered to or otherwise by Maxam Company Limited, which was transporting the explosives and other stakeholders.
It was also expected to carry out independent investigations to corroborate or otherwise the report of the Minerals Commission.
Mr Jinapor noted that, although the investigations by the committee did not centre on criminality, it was necessary to establish the roles of all stakeholders during the transportation of the product.
He said the Terms of Reference of the Committee was limited to compliance with mining regulations saying that the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulation (L.I 2127) spells out what was required in the management of explosives as well as the consequences.
The report, he noted, would guide the Ministry on its next action and the necessary steps to take to avert such incidents in future.
“The investigations and the report are not without prejudice to any criminal culpability that may arise from the investigations being undertaken by the security agencies, nor does it constitute a bar to any civil liability that may arise,” he added.
Mr Jinapor said the report would be reviewed as soon as possible and the necessary recommendations implemented.
He expressed confidence in the security services to carry out criminal investigations and take appropriate actions.
On his part, MrAryee said the investigations which brought about the report were thorough and included observations from a visit to the Appiatse community and interviews with the chiefs and people of the community, including eyewitnesses.
He said the committee also interviewed those who were involved in the incident including the truck driver, the police escort, the driver of the escort vehicle, among others.
Also interviewed were officials of the companies involved in the transportation, including Maxam Ghana Limited, where the explosives were being transported from and also inspected and reviewed the log books of Maxam and the various police stations.
Per the information gathered by the Committee, and the documents reviewed, MrAryee said the report fairly represents the facts leading to the incident.
He said the committee, based on those facts, had made some recommendations for the consideration of the minister.
The explosion, which occurred around midday on Thursday, January 20, resulted from a collision between a truck belonging to Maxam Ghana Limited which was transporting explosives to a mining company and a tricycle.
The impact of the collision was said to have caused the explosives to detonate, causing the vehicle to explode.
The situation was exacerbated by a nearby transformer which also exploded in the process.
Initial reports indicate that about 13 people died in the process, while more than 100 people suffered various degrees of injuries.
The impact of the explosion also caused damage to several houses in the community, leaving many families displaced.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS