The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, yesterday formally received the Report of investigations conducted into the recent tragic incident in which mining explosives being conveyed to a mining point blasted in Apeate, a community in Bogoso, resulting in the death and injuries of several residents.
The Report was put together by persons appointed to independently investigate the circumstances leading to the Apeate explosion incident, and the extent to which those involved, complied or failed to comply with regulations relating to the conveyance, storage, possession, manufacture and use of explosives for mining, quarrying and civil works.
The presentation of the Report follows an earlier preliminary report presented by the Minerals Commission, the regulator of the mining sector, following the incident.
Presenting the Report, the Chairman of the Committee, Benjamin Aryee, who is also a former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said, following the incident, which claimed some thirteen (13) lives and rendered several people homeless, the Minerals Commission carried out its investigations, in accordance with the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177), and submitted a preliminary report to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
He added that, given the complexity of the matter, the Minister set up a three-member committee to carry out independent investigations to corroborate or otherwise the report of the Minerals Commission.
According to Mr Aryee, the Committee visited the Appeate community and had interactions with the chiefs and people of the community including eyewitnesses.
Mr Aryee thanked the Minister for the opportunity to serve, adding that, with the information gathered by the Committee, and the documents reviewed, the Report fairly represents the facts leading to the incident. He also disclosed that the Committee, based on those facts, has made some recommendations for the consideration of the Minister.
Receiving the Report, the Minister thanked the members of the Committee for the effort they put in to get the Report ready within a short period, assuring that “he will review the Report as soon as possible, and implement the necessary recommendations, once satisfied”.
The Minister noted that the Terms of Reference of the Committee was limited to compliance with mining regulations.
He emphasised that the investigations and the Report are 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 also expressed confidence in the security services to carry out criminal investigations and take appropriate actions.
He also said, in addition to rebuilding the community, the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is committed to ensuring that anyone found culpable is made to face the full rigours of the law. He assured that Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will take immediate action on the Report.
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. Additionally, the Committee inspected and reviewed the log books of Maxam and the various police stations.
The other members of the Committee were Mr. Peter Awuah, the Technical Director on Mines at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and Mr. Cletus Alengah, a Lawyer and Special Assistant to the Minister.