…Over the siting of potential health hazard in Tema Community 3
A resident of Site 13, Tema Community 3, has dragged four state agencies, along with two private companies, to court over what is believed to be a very irresponsible siting of a container terminal and an industrial cold store.
The resident, Dennis Amfo-Sefa, alias Nana Boakye, who is a businessman of H/No 17A R3, Community 3, Tema, wants the High Court in Accra to bring the Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Revenue Authority and the Tema Development Corporation to order.
In this request, Nana Boakye wants the court, among others, to declare as illegal, the development of a container terminal and an industrial cold store by a private company called Overseas Commerce Ghana Ltd on a plot of land at the Sakumono Ramsar site, Community 3 that the TDC had originally given out for the purpose of developing residential apartments.
With Overseas Commerce Ghana Ltd listed as the first defendant in the suit, dated 31st March, 2017, Kilimanjaro Logistics Ghana Limited is duly listed as the second defendant because it was Kilimanjaro Logistics that had subleased the TDC land in question to Overseas Commerce for the construction of the container terminal and an industrial cold store, even though Kilimanjaro had originally secured the lease out of the land from TDC for the purpose of developing residential facilities.
In the suit, the TDC, EPA, GPHA and the GRA are listed as the third, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants respectively.
The main thrust of Nana Boakye’s case is that the Ramsar Sakumono site is within the Tema Community 3 Residential area, and that, as such, the siting of a container terminal and an industrial cold store warehouse there will put the health of residents, including himself, in danger.
He, among other things, wants the court to force the EPA to live up to its statutory duty of protecting the environment on the site in question, so that the residential area will not be saddled with the commercial projects that are being put up there to the detriment of the health of residents.
According to the facts of the case, on 19th July, 2014, the TDC gave out a plot of land at Tema Community 3 to Kilimanjaro Logistics Ghana Limited for the purpose of constructing residential apartments.
However, by a sublease dated the 1st of September, 2015, Kilimanjaro granted a portion of the land to Overseas for the construction of a container terminal and an industrial cold store.
The plaintiff avers that the siting of the cold store at Community 3 Site 13, which is a residential area, is improper and that the project will be a health nuisance to himself and other residents.
He cites gas emissions, fumes and noise from the operations of the industrial cold store and container terminal as major pollutants that will harm the environment and its atmosphere.
He also avers that the project will seriously impact on the Sakumono Ramsar site and render the residential area seriously flood-prone, and that even as the construction is still ongoing, it has led to floods in the area already.
He revealed in the suit that Overseas Commerce and Kilimanjaro have done everything, including refusal to erect project signboards, to resist demands to disclose the purpose of the project under construction and that it has only recently come to his knowledge that the project is industrial in nature.
While this is the case, he stated that the EPA has clandestinely approved an Impact Assessment Plan without recourse to the community and that the approval is baseless, given the fact that it is industrial in nature and should not be sited so close to a residential area.
He said it had come to his notice that the GRA too has given Overseas Commerce approval to operate the container terminal in the area, and that Overseas Commerce has applied for permit from the GPHA to operate the same terminal.
He denounced these acts of the government agencies as reckless and removed from their statutory responsibilities to ensure that the environment and citizens are protected, and so Nana Boakye is demanding, among others, a declaration from the court that the siting of the industrial cold store and container terminal at the Sakumono Ramsar area will affect a wetland there and also put the health of residents in danger.
He also wants the court to declare that the siting of the industrial cold store warehouse and container terminal at the Sakumono Ramsar area is unlawful and that the TDC’s grant of permit for the constructions is ultra vires.
Nana Boakye demands from the court, a declaration that the EPA’s grant of permit to the two private companies to construct the cold store and container terminal contravenes the basic statutory responsibility of the EPA itself.
He also wants an order to revoke the customs permit that was granted to the companies to construct the cold store and container terminal.
The plaintiff also wants the issuance by the court, of an injunction, restraining the TDC from issuing a permit towards the construction of the cold store and container terminal, and an order revoking any such permit that has already been given.
He also requested for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Overseas Commerce and Kilimanjaro, their agents or assigns, constructing or developing, or operating the cold store or terminal on the land in question.
Nana Boakye also requested the court to issue an order to the EPA to ensure that it lives up to its core mandate to protect the environment.
The managing director of TDC, Joe Abbey, when contacted, denied any wrongdoing with explanation that the TDC released the land for residential purposes.
The counsel for the plaintiff, Lawyer Abraham Ossei-Aidooh,a former Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, told journalists in his office that doing what is right appeals to the better nature in all of us and that is why universities all over the world are putting ethics courses in their curriculum to help students discern right from wrong.
In addition to that, the respected Lawyer Aidooh commended his client for the decision to do the right thing by going to court for redress.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels