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Environmental officers build capacity in prosecution

BY: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor
Amidu Issahaku, Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources

Environmental health officers from eight metropolitan, municipal and districts assemblies within the Ashanti Region have undergone a capacity training programme to enable them prosecute environmental and sanitation offences as part of efforts in enforcing sanitation by-laws at the local level.

A total of 86 environmental health officers from the assemblies implementing the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GKMA SWP) benefited from the two-day training workshop organised by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.

They were from Suame, Oforikrom, Kumasi, Kwadaso, Asokwa, Old Tafo, Asokore-Mampong and Ejisu.

The participants were taken through basic sanitation laws, practices in the district courts, law of evidence and ethics.

They were also taken through procedure in court and moot court sessions to help them address and dress up for courts.

Objective

The training was aimed at strengthening the capacities of the environmental health practitioners to ensure successful prosecution of offenders within the assemblies in the Greater Kumasi Area.

It was also to help sustain the efforts made by environmental health staff towards social and behavioural change within the various communities, especially in the construction and use of toilet facilities in individual homes.

Enforcement

Speaking at the opening of the two-day training workshop in Kumasi on Monday, July 4, 2022, the Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, said there was the need to vigorously enforce the existing national and local by-laws to protect the environment.

He said this has become necessary due to the poor attitude of the public towards the environment.

According to him, people would no longer be allowed to flout environmental sanitation laws with impunity and go scot free.

He said the non-adherence to sanitation laws had led to loss of lives, property and livelihoods and brought untold hardships to the affected people.

This, he said, was not acceptable and would require the efforts of all and sundry to help nip this canker in the bud.

The Deputy Minister called on the prosecutors to avoid tampering with the facts and engaging in acts just to secure conviction.

Resource person

A Private Legal Practitioner with the Gomda and Associates, Bernard Agortey, who took participants through the laws on sanitation.

He said every crime must be defined by a written law and with its accompanying punishment and as such, asked the prosecutors to be sure of the offence before sending the offenders to court.

That, according to him, would help them know the sources of offences within the enactment.

The project

The Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project was launched in 2021 with the aim of providing 30,000 households with toilet facilities over the next three years.

The $74 million project is also expected to provide 120 schools and healthcare facilities with toilets.