Kantamanto Fire Rubbles Land In US
On Wednesday, Deputy Interior Minister James Agalga told Joy News that the Mahama government had taken delivery of investigative report by the American experts on the numerous market fires that had caused such outrage in the country.
Mr Agalga further disclosed that experts from the ministry were studying the report before forwarding it to the President with ‘certain recommendations for implementation’. He however did not indicate exactly when they ministry received the report.
‘We received the report not too long ago,’ he said, but could not readily tell the date the report was received; he was, however, certain it came in ‘about weeks’ ago.
Incidentally, mid-July, this year, during the daily press briefing held at the Flagstaff House, a deputy Minister for Information and Media Relations, Mohammed Murtala, also made that same announcement that government had received the report.
‘The investigation is actually complete and it’s being studied but we did point out that the signals we are getting from the investigation that was conducted pointed to two things; that some of the fires were caused by arsonists and some were accidents,’ he stated.
Meanwhile, the GNFS is also still deep in its own investigations of the market fires and cannot be certain when they would issue their own version of the investigations, ‘… it does not mean because the US team came, we are also not doing our investigation, we are also doing our investigation,’ Mr. Anaglatey explained.
When pressed to state the time for the release of the GNFS’s report on the fire, the GNFS deputy PRO admitted that he could not possibly tell, ‘Our investigation is still ongoing, we have not concluded yet. Nobody would be able to tell [when the report will be released]. It is the factors on the ground that will determine how long an investigation would end; I’m just surprised that people are pressing for this particular investigation,’ he stated.
‘It is an investigation into an area that has been destroyed, so you need to painstakingly search and determine what exactly is the cause of the fire, so there is nothing anybody should rush for.’
The conflicting status of the fire investigation has forced critics to intensify their demand for a full disclosure of the factors responsible for the nerve-racking fire outbreaks. Leading the crusade to force government to disclose the findings of the fire investigations is the former Ahafo-Ano South Member of Parliament for main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Stephen Balado Manu. Balado Manu is convinced that the delay in the release of the report confirmed skepticisms that the NDC government was only serving some ‘propaganda’ by blowing the fire incident out of proportion. ‘We were in this country when markets got burnt left right centre, everywhere….What I am asking is, where is their report? What were their findings? Ghanaians want to know,’ he charged. Arsonists uncovered Between January and May this year, the country recorded over 2,200 infernos that mainly consumed public places such as markets and offices and was estimated to have destroyed millions of Ghana cedis worth of goods and properties. It was unclear what phenomenon was fueling the sporadic fire outbreaks. As a result, two forensic fire experts were flown in from the New York Fire Department to help the GNFS to unravel the mystery surrounding the fire outbreaks. In the heat of the controversy, and even before the team unpacked their tools, President John Dramani Mahama publicly hinted that the fires were caused by arsonist, leading to a number of arrests. Murtala Mohammed confirmed the arrests. Checks by DAILY GUIDE revealed that the arrested persons included some four men from Bawku in the Upper East Region, residing in Accra.
They were arrested ‘Rambo style’ amidst warning shots at Avenor near the Neoplan Station in Accra precisely at a place known as ‘Articulator Station’ on Wednesday June 19 at about 5:00pm.
The four were Shaibu Bashar, a university graduate who just completed his National Service at the Ministry of Defence; Yakubu Tahiru aka Rasta, a 28-year-old bicycle and motorbike repairer; Mustapha Adamu, a self-employed mobile phone repairer who was trained by rlg and Fatau Ibrahim, a 26-year-old welder apprentice who makes an additional income by working part-time as a commercial motorbike operator popularly known as ‘Okada’.
Shaibu Bashar was eventually released because his father is an NDC leader in Bawku.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that his release was apparently due to the fact that he was the son of one of the contenders for the position of District Chief Executive in Bawku Central. Latest information gathered by this paper indicated that a bulk of the supposed arsonists have been granted bail and are awaiting trial. By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
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