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Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency Set to Become an Authority

Speaking during a webinar hosted by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Kokofu said the move is part of amendments to the Environmental Protection Law, currently undergoing Parliamentary review.

The Executive Director of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu has announced significant developments in the agency’s evolution – including plans to elevate the EPA into an Authority and grant it expanded powers and capabilities.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Kokofu said the move is part of amendments to the Environmental Protection Law, currently undergoing Parliamentary review.

Once ratified, the EPA will gain enhanced authorization, including the authority to make arrests and prosecute offenders independently. Dr. Kokofu added that this transformation will position the EPA as a formidable entity capable of addressing both national and global environmental challenges.

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“When the law becomes operational, the EPA will not rely on the police service to cause arrests—the EPA itself will be deemed as a quasi-national security institution. The EPA will become a force to be reckoned with, and it will be placed and positioned to deal with global environmental issues alongside national environmental issues,” Kokofu said.

The Agency has for some time now, faced public backlash for failing to enforce some regulations around mining. In 2021, the EPA and Minerals Commission were indicted in the Auditor-Generals report for failing to ensure that small-scale miners adhere to the polluter pay principle, which ensures that miners reclaim mined pits.

But in its defense, the EPA has always said it lacks prosecutorial powers to cause arrests; often leaving environmental crimes unpunished.

The Agency is therefore betting on the new amendments to do a better job at environmental regulation.

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“When the Act is passed by Parliament and assented to by the President and becomes an operational law, we can assure you that we will see a much more enhanced, proactive, biting and active-oriented EPA,” Kokofu told the Ghanaian Times last year.

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