NPA, EPA Wallowing In Lawsuits
Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority, Alhassan Tampuli, has revealed that the authority has for some time been saddled with a number of lawsuits.
These civil actions, he said, had been brought against them by victims of petroleum and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) disasters.
“Some unfortunate accidents have occurred in the past, either due to unavoidable accidents or negligence on the part of handlers of the equipment and installations, resulting in the loss of precious lives.
“As we speak today, the NPA, the EPA, together with other regulators, are being sued left, right and centre by victims of such accidents,” he said.
Mr. Tampoli was speaking at the official launch of the 2019 “People Safety First” campaign, held in Accra, on Tuesday.
The campaign is an initiative of the NPA to raise awareness for safety protocols in the petroleum sector.
He said victims of the June 3 twin fire and flood disaster are demanding damages of GH¢40 million against the Goil filling station, the NPA amongst others for various acts of negligence.
“I’m not sure how many stuff we have to sell to raise that money…amongst other damages they are asking the court to grant them,” he said.
The NPA views this trend as worrying and is intensely working to raise awareness on ways of handling petroleum products to curtail industry injuries and deaths from LPG, petrol, premix and other petroleum related fires.
According to the NPA, the lawsuits were not only coming from victims but also from existing industry players who thought the NPA’s regulations were stringent and insensitive.
“When you put safety measures, you go to court; when you don’t insist, you also go to court so, either way, we would go to court. But we will take action to avoid the needless loss of lives
“We would rather be in court for that reason than wait for an accident for someone to take us to court because we can’t bring back the lives of such persons who have lost their lives in such accidents,” Mr. Tampuli said.
He added that it was unfair that the NPA is saddled with the blames when things go wrong, especially at a time when the authority is playing its part in ensuring that disasters are a thing of the past.
He said the NPA was working with other regulators including the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority, to ensure that Schools, markets and worship centres are not built around petrol and gas stations.
CEO for the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs), Kwaku Agyemang-Duah, speaking at the event, advised his colleagues to adhere to safety standards.
As part of plans to clamp down on explosions, he said members of the AOMCs have embarked on several initiatives, including Peer Auditing which allows OMCs to check the safety standards of each other.
By Grace Ablewor Sogbey