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General News of Saturday, 14 October 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

You must be ashamed of yourself - Ace blames Ayariga failures for gas explosion menace

Talking fire and brimstone, legal practitioner Ace Ankomah has castigated former Environment Minister for failing to enforce regulations to check gas explosions.

"You are to blame for what happened. You should be ashamed of yourself," Mr Ankomah pointed an accusatory finger at Mahama Ayariga.

Mr Ayariga had confessed that regulators, technical hands, and political heads face pressure from pastors and politicians, friends and family whenever they try to enforce safety regulations.

His admission - already an open secret - came after the eighth gas explosion in three years claimed seven lives at Atomic Junction in Accra and left hospitalised 134 others.

In what has become a familiar script, the disaster has left the public fuming about weak enforcement culture with politicians and political appointees promising to up their game to curb future occurrences.

Before the October explosion, a more deadly inferno on June 3, 2015 left more than 150 dead. Mahama Ayariga who was Environment minister at the time embarked on a campaign to ensure that fuel stations met safety standards.

He left office with another gas explosion occuring 16 days to the NDC government's hand over of power to the NPP government on January 7, 2017 The Former Environment Minister Mahama Ayariga wants victims of gas explosions to sue operators for negligence in their duty of care, a call Ace Ankomah backed.



But Ace Ankomah in a no holes barred stance called for the regulatory agencies to be sued for failing to enforce regulations.

"How about those who have breached their statutory duty, because the law imposes a duty to regulate?", he said on Newsfile on Joy News channel on Multi TV, Saturday.

He runs through the 2005 law empowering the NPA and concluded Ghana's laws are "beautiful".

"As for the wording, we have it...we have given the NPA power and even power to make more regulations," he observed stressing the problem has to do with enforcing the regulations.

He charged the Chief Executive of National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Hassan Tampuli to act differently from his predecessors.

Already the Authority has shut down 21 gas stations in the wake of public pressure for action.

Giving Hassan Tampuli a vote of confidence, Mr Ankomah said, "leave Hassan Tampuli to do this, he will fix this!".

The lawyer warned "Mr Pastor, Bishop, Imam, party financier" to "back off"..."don't do what you did to [Ayariga], he said to end his submission.

But not without expressing disappointment in Ayariga, who once interned at his law firm.

"You are part of the reason why this country is where it is at", the lawyer said.