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Estate developer charged for supplying unsafe water

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

An estate developer and a foreman in charge of an estate have been hauled before the Adentan District Court for allegedly providing unsafe and unwholesome water for residents of the estate.

Kwabena Atakora is the estate developer and Managing Director of Integral Associates Limited, while the foreman is Kwabena Asuning.

The estate — Integral Homes — is located at Abokobi in the Ga East municipality.

It is the case of the prosecution that residents of the estate developed skin rashes after using water from a mechanised borehole constructed by Atakora.

According to the prosecution, a test conducted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research revealed that the water contained high levels of iron and chloride far beyond the guidelines of the World Health Organisation and was, therefore, not suitable for potable use without treatment.

Charges

Atakora and Asuning have been charged with operating a mechanised borehole water system without undergoing adequate treatment, contrary to Section 54 sub-sections (b), (c) and (d) of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851).

They are also facing a charge of construction of a mechanised borehole system without authority or permit, contrary to Section 94 of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936), and non-compliance with notice, contrary to Section 153 of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925).

The two could each be fined up to GH¢9,000 or serve three years in prison, or they could be fined and serve jail terms if found guilty for contravening Act 851.

With regard to Act 936, if found guilty, they could be fined up to GH¢4,800 or serve up to six months in jail, or could be slapped with both, while contravention of Act 925 carries a fine of the cedi equivalent of $200 for each day the offence takes place.

Not guilty

The two have pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and are each on bail in the sum of GH¢10,000, with two sureties.

The trial is expected to start at the court, presided over by Ms Linda Amissah, on April 27, this year.

Prosecution’s facts

The prosecutor, Mr Charles Tsatsu, an environmental officer at the Ga East Municipal Assembly, told the court that on December 24, last year, residents of Integral Estate lodged a complaint at the assembly that they had developed skin rashes after using the water provided by the developer.

He said investigations revealed that the mechanised borehole was built without any permit from the assembly, nor was any environmental assessment conducted, as required by law, before the project was built.

“Investigations also indicated that the mechanised borehole is in place without any form of water treatment,” he said.

The prosecutor said the assembly served a notice on the accused persons to stop the supply of the “unwholesome water”, but that was met with deaf ears.

“The said water was still being supplied to the residents after the notice, until a re-inspection was conducted on February 5, 2021,” he added.

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