‘MELCOM MAN’ FINGERED


The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Building Inspector, Christian Ababio, who was arrested for his role in the infamous Melcom building collapse saga at Achimota is likely to be invited by the police for some questioning in relation to the recent collapse of the six-storey building at Nii Boi Town in Accra, last week.

The uncompleted building which was earmarked for a hotel and owned by one S.K.B Omari of Grandview Hotel fame collapsed last week claiming one life, leaving another seriously injured, thereby raising issues of structural defects.

This led to the arrest and subsequent release of the project contractor (owner of the building) and two officials of the AMA, George Benefo and Frank Gyekye who were left on bail.

But police and AMA sources have told the DAILY GUIDE that police would soon be inviting the man (Ababio) who supervised the construction of the collapsed Melcom building located at Achimota for some questioning for his role in this latest saga.

This, according to our source was because Mr Ababio was the head of the Building Inspection at the Okaikoi North Sub-Metro office of the AMA when the construction works on the collapsed building began in earnest.

At the time he was being transferred from the Okaikoi Sub-Metro to the La-Nkwantanang Sub-Metro where he currently works as Building Inspector, the building was said to have got to the fourth floor and therefore handed over to his Deputy, Frank Gyekye.

According to our police and AMA sources, Mr Ababio never raised an issue with the construction of the building until Gyekye took over and had cause to issue an order for the contractor to stop work since they realised some defects on the building.

But, this seemed to have fallen on deaf ears since construction works was said to have been carried out sometimes under the cover of darkness.

 
Facts on file
DAILY GUIDE checks had established that on December 3, 2013, the new Principal Engineer who doubled as head of the Okaikoi North Sub-Metro, George Benefo, also had cause to issue a similar order for owners and contractors working on the building to stop work and produce relevant documents covering the building including a land title, building permit and what they called structural integrity report.

Mr Omari was said to have furnished the AMA officials with drawings of the building, a fire report and soil report.

Only about a month ago, some residents of  the area (Nii Boi Town) were said to have also gone to the sub-metro office to complain about fallen objects from the building, leading to the issuance of yet another ‘stop work’ order took over on February 20, 2014.

That was also said to have been equally neglected until the building finally came crushing on Thursday, March 13, 2014.

 
Work in progress
At the time DAILY GUIDE reporters visited the collapsed building site on Saturday, officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ghana Police Service and engineers from the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) were busily working, trying to remove the rubbles from the place.

Head of the police team at the Tesano Police Station, Chief Superintendent Lydia Donkor told the paper that investigations have already started and ‘we are determined to conduct thorough investigations to ensure such situation does not occur in the future’ and that ‘we are not going to let things happen just like that.’

Head of the military team, Major Ernest Nyuur, was hopeful that they would be able to clear the rubble on time to enable residents to go about their normal duties.

Gavivina Tamakloe, Director of Relief and Construction at NADMO denied claims that they have not been able to provide enough relief and support to victims of the disaster especially inhabitants of the two houses that were affected by the collapse.

Instead, he said, ‘NADMO has provided the affected victims with food and beddings and we have even gone ahead to offer them (residents) a place to sleep at our headquarters but they have turned down the offer.’

 
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
 
 
 

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