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19.04.2006 Disaster

Committee set up to investigate Volta Lake Disaster


The Government on Tuesday set up an eight-member committee of enquiry to investigate the April 8 Volta Lake Disaster, which claimed 10 lives.

The Committee has five weeks from its inauguration date to complete its work and submit a report and recommendations to the Ministry of Harbours and Railways, and Ministry of Land, Forestry and Mines for onward submission to the Presidency.

The terms of reference of the committee are: "To investigate the cause of the accident and the loss of human lives; investigate and establish the actual number of human lives lost as a result of the accident; to examine the extent to which the Wildlife Division's evacuation exercise was linked to the boat disaster and make recommendations on any matter related to the accident."

Mr Justice Kofi Essel Mensah, a Circuit Court Judge, chairs the Committee, others are Mrs Bernadette Esa Chinery-Hesse, of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Member Secretary; Professor Eric Quaye of the University of Ghana and Captain Aaron Turkson of the Regional Maritime Academy.

The rest of the Membership are; Commander Moses Beick-Baffour, Ghana Maritime Authority/Ghana Navy; Mr Bright Obeng-Boampong, Acting Managing Director of the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited; Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) George Yeboah Afari of the Ghana Police Service and Dr Mamaa Entsua-Mensah of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Announcing the membership of the Committee at a joint press conference organized by the two sector Ministries, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi said the composition of the committee was based on the Ghana Maritime Authority Act.

He urged the public and institutions with information on the possible cause of the accident to assist the Committee to establish the truth, stressing: "We should be circumspect in our moment of bereavement."

Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi expressed the President's and Government's condolences to the affected families and pledged that Government would not cover anybody or institution found to be liable for the accident. The Minister also urged the media and other nongovernmental agencies to exercise restraint in their comments and reportage on the issues in order not to interfere with the terms of reference of the Committee.

Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, stressed that the terms of reference of the Committee was comprehensive enough to establish the truth of the accident and its related issues especially on the eviction of settlers in the Digya National Park. The Committee would sit at Jasikan, Tepa Abotoase and Accra and also visit other strategic locations on the Lake and in the Park.