Environmental IssuesMining

Residents of Appiatse want the Support Fund to be used appropriately

Appeatse, Feb. 14, – Following the government’s directive for US$5million of the fine imposed on Maxam Company to be invested in the Support Fund for the Appiatse community, some victims and opinion leaders have called for accountability, transparency and judicious use of the fund.

The Maxam Company was fined one million for breaches leading to the Appiatse explosion and an additional five million dollars to the government for the reconstruction of the community.

While hailing the Government for its commitment to rebuilding the community, they also expressed gratitude for the prompt emergency response in the wake of the tragic explosion.

The incident that occurred on Thursday, January 20, killed 14 people and destroyed the entire community.

Subsequently, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo directed that US$5million out of the US$6million fine imposed on Maxam Ghana should be used to help reconstruct the Appiatse community in the Western Region.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Thomas Yaw Enyam, Assemblyman for Beppo Electoral Area, said: “The future will be bleak if the government does not ensure the fund is well managed to improve the livelihoods of all affected residents.”

“We know the managers of the fund are people of integrity and committed to our course, yet, we will continue to demand accountability, transparency and prudent use of resources to better a lot of all victims.”

Mr. Enyam urged all Ghanaians, particularly, civil society, to strictly monitor the allocations and disbursements of the Support Fund to better the lives of the people.

He also advocated financial compensation packages for all victims, saying: “Many victims have developed hearing and vision impairment and deformities, which will prevent them from working again.”

Additionally, he called on religious leaders, corporate bodies, philanthropists, civil society, development partners and the public to be immeasurable in their contributions to the Fund to facilitate the redevelopment process.

Mr Benjamin Gyasi, the Appiatse Community Secretary, reiterated the need for effective communication between the Government and the people to engender confidence and trust.

He also prayed for the inclusion of Dr Isaac Dasamani, the Municipal Chief Executive for Prestea Huni-Valley, in the management of Appiatse Support Fund.

“Our MCE and chiefs are always with us so they should have been part because they have shown commitment to our welfare and visit us virtually everyday so why are they not par? “ asked Mr Gyasi, who is also the Secretary to the late Appiatse Chief, Nana Atta Kojo Bramebi I.

“Where we are is not our home so we need our houses built for us in the shortest possible time. We have lost our wives, children, friends, savings and homes. We now live like refugees or paupers, always begging for what to eat and wear,” he stated.

Mr Stephen Mensah, a former Unit Committee member, reiterated the need for effective regulatory enforcement and a more punitive regime to streamline mining activities and prevent recurrence of the loss of lives and property.

The youth in the community must also be empowered through various apprenticeship programmes to create jobs for sustainable livelihoods.

Ms Emelia Baidoo, a 35-year-old trader, who sold fruits and foodstuffs by the roadside, lost her brother and life savings to the explosion, leaving her family devastated.

She called on the managers of the Fund to be impartial with the support mechanism for the victims without regard to one’s ethnicity or political persuasion.

Ghana News Agency

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