Members of Parliament (MPs) have called for the prosecution of owners of gas filling stations whose negligence results in loss of lives, injuries to people and destruction of properties.
They have again suggested legal action against technocrats in government institutions who offer permits for the siting and operation of fuel filling stations without due diligence.
The legislators said it was only when offenders were made to suffer for their negligence that the incessant gas explosions would be abated in the country.
They were making contributions on the floor of the House yesterday in relation to last Saturday’s gas explosion at the fuel station and the gas refilling plant at Atomic Junction at Madina in Accra that led to the death of seven persons and injury to 132 others.
‘Let the laws work’
The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said those whose actions or inaction caused the explosion and the consequent loss of lives, injuries and destruction of properties should be punished according to the law.
He said pressure should not be brought to bear on the law enforcement agencies to discontinue with their prosecution.
“We should let the law take its course. Whoever is found culpable should face the full rigours of the law,” he said.
He called for the intensification of training for fuel station operators and drivers, “so that the nation will not be so imperiled”.
The MP for Bawku Central and former Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Mr Mahama Ayariga, said it was the failure to take on facility owners and their insurance and make them pay dearly for the loss of properties and lives that had led to others not taking a cue and rather continuing to behave in very reckless and negligent ways that resulted in the dangerous consequences.
“We can take all the tax money to pay compensation, which I think is wrong, because somebody causes a loss and then you take taxpayers’ money to pay compensation and that person and his insurance company are left to go scot free.
“It is about time lawyers, legal aid service organisations and human rights organisations provided assistance, so that we can take action against owners of these facilities so that they can also feel the pain and other owners of such facilities will take a cue,” he said.
The MP for Abuakwa South and Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, said once the owners of fuel stations had chosen to own such facilities to service communities, they were supposed to ensure that the facilities would not endanger lives.
Therefore, he said, owners of fuel stations must be prosecuted under the Criminal Code if their stations exposed people to danger.
“If you let them go scot free and preach a message, then we are not respecting the laws of this country,” he said.
Besides, he said, technocrats in government agencies which gave the permits for the siting of fuel stations at unconducive locations “should suffer criminal culpability”.
The MP for Pru East and former Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor, said the issue of gas explosions was not about failure to comply with existing protocols and safety requirements.
He said the country had enough regulations and protocols on safety but the problem was about the enforcement of those regulations.
“We can move the operators out of town and we will have the same results. We must enforce existing protocols,” he said.
Source: Daily Graphic