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Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Source: GNA

EPA trains prosecutors to enforce laws

Accra, June 28, GNA - The Acting Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has directed staff of the organisation to empower themselves with EPA Act 490 (1994) to initiate criminal action against all environmental crime offenders.

Mr Daniel S. Amlalo said the legislation gave authority to the Agency t= o prosecute environmental crimes nationwide, warning that those who failed to act would be held accountable.

The offences relate to water, air and noise pollution, misuse of pesticides and other forms of chemicals and failure to secure environmental permits before undertaking major developments.

Speaking at the end of a two-week training programme for 40 members of staff on prosecutions, Mr Amlalo said enforcement action constituted an important tool in efforts aimed at environmental protection and sustainable development.

He said the Act empowered the Agency as a corporate body to sue and be sued and asked the officers to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the legislation to be able to prosecute offenders in any court of competent jurisdiction.

In 1999, the Office of the Attorney General, under powers given to him by section 56 of the Criminal and other Offences Procedure Act, 1960 (Act 30), appointed specified officers of the Agency as public prosecutors, in respect of offences and matters in Act 490 and regulations made under the Act. This was done under Executive Instrument number 9 (E.I. 9), which forme= d the basis for the training exercise.

Mr Amlalo said it was important that the EPA fulfilled its mandate by prosecuting in earnest, to halt the increase in environmental crimes. "The number of enforcement notices issued by both the Head and Region= al Offices bear testimony to the fact that there are no shortages of violation= s of environmental laws across the country.

"Various industries, facilities and operators who are subject to our permitting conditions have, over the years tested our resolve and capacity to act to put a halt to their actions, which often hurt our environment and also impair human health."

Mr Amlalo said the personnel had 93a rare opportunity to make significant contribution to Ghana's efforts at ensuring sustainable development for present and future generations".

He urged the participants to put to practice all that they had learned for, 93it is through practice that you can become perfect". Mr Lambert Faabeluon, Director, Manufacturing Industry Department, EPA= , urged the participants to 93know the EPA Law right at the fingertips" to facilitate prosecution in court. The participants were taken through the 1992 Constitution, Criminal Procedure Act, Criminal Offences Act, Evidence Act and guidelines on how to prosecute.