Some hospitality facilities in the Upper East Region will face prosecution and closure for operating with expired operational permits, Mr Asher Nkegbe, Regional Director, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned.
“Permits of some facilities expired as far back as 2018 and they are not renewing, and we are going to prosecute them if they do not renew their permits because you cannot be operating with invalid permits” he said.
The EPA Act of 1994, Act 490 and Legislative Instrument of 1999, LI 1652 empowers the EPA to issue permits to hospitality facilities and other undertakings to promote prudent environmental management.
Such environmental permits come with conditions that direct facilities and institutions to ensure proper waste management system, location, project specifications, noise and sanitation, occupational health and safety, environmental quality monitoring, annual environmental report among others to ensure safety of the public and compliance of the law.
The permit is also renewable every 18 months and failure to do so attracts administrative punishment including suspension, cancellation or revocation of the permit or prosecution when breached.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of an inspection exercise to ascertain the compliance level of hospitality facilities in the region, it was revealed that 13 facilities were operating with expired permits while one operated without a permit.
“Most of these facilities are in the Bolgatanga Municipality and its environs with 11 facilities and two also in Bawku West District,” he added.
He stated that the facilities were operating without valid permits which according to him, posed risks to the people who patronised them and urged them to take steps to renew their permits.
The Regional Director noted that Act 490, 1994, had empowered the Agency with prosecutorial powers to prosecute those at fault, and added that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”.
“It is not the money that we are interested in, we want to ensure compliance and ensure safety of the public, and we go by the dictates of the law. So, we have given them enforcement notice and advancing steps to prosecute them,” he added.
He said the EPA would intensify its regular monitoring and inspection exercise to ensure all facilities under the supervision of the EPA, complied with the laid down laws.
Mr Opoku Sarfo, Legal Officer in charge of Northern Sector, EPA, noted that apart from the hospitality facilities, there were two quarry companies operating in the Talensi District with expired permits.
Their operations, he said, were high risk and posed health hazards to the public and warned that the EPA would soon clamp down on them if they do not take steps to regularise their operations.
Mr Sarfo urged the public to report to the Agency any undertakings that posed danger to the safety and health of the people, “we are sensitive to the concerns of the people”. He stressed.