General News of Thursday, 8 November 2012
It has emerged that the owner of the Melcom Achimota building, which collapsed on Wednesday has a record of putting up buildings at night to avoid attention.
Some residents close to the multi-storey department store told Myjoyonline that the Achimota edifice, for instance, “sprung up all of a sudden”.
They claimed during construction, the site was fenced so residents could not tell exactly what was going on. “We only saw lights in there and sounds of machines and people working,” one of them recollected.
Nana Buadu, the owner of the Melcom building, has a similar building in Kumasi which engineers in city have warned that it is not good for housing people.
Luv News Erastus Donkor reports that he had confrontation with city authorities for building at night and also having no permit for the building.
Our correspondent was told that Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly had problems with Nana Buadu’s five-storey building which is close to the Asokwa Interchange in Kumasi, because it has some structural defects.
“It is a huge edifice sitting on small pillars that is my layman view of it,” he said.
Erastus said the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly confirmed to him that its engineers did not give the owner permit to put up the building.
Even though he observed that the structure looks like it has been abandoned for several years, about four persons are currently occupying the building which is fitted with a lift.
Mr. Clement K. Kegeri, Special Assistance to the Kumasi Mayor remarked: “Our records indicate that our Assembly has not granted him any permit. The information we also gathered from our engineering department indicates that our engineers didn’t supervise the building.
“I can tell you on authority that our engineers are not satisfied with the structural nature of the building, they are of technical view that the building has some structural defects. For that matter they have not approved the building to be used to house people.”
Meanwhile the immediate past President of the Ghana Institution of Architects, Osei Agyemang is demanding immediate pragmatic steps to prevent another disaster.
He also called for “a certain rigid of professional procedure” in putting up buildings in the country, regretting “unfortunately” that most contractors do not submit themselves to due process.
“We are not respecting the regulatory framework, we are not abiding by the regulations and procedures that we need to go by.”