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General News of Saturday, 15 August 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Notable government institutions razed down by fire

Ghana has a history of fire outbreaks in several government facilities and institutions.

Despite efforts to prevent such disasters, the country continues to lose millions of cedis whenever such disasters occur.

Fire incidents have become a regular occurrence. Although some investigations have identified “electrical faults” as the cause of some of these, it is sad to note that foul play was suspected in some incidents.

Below is a list of some popular public buildings that have recorded fire outbreaks.

Electoral Commission's Office at Sapeiman



The latest fire outbreak to have rocked the country was recorded on Friday, August 14, 2020, at the Electoral Commission's Office at Sapeiman in the Ga West Municipality.

The fire is believed to have started in the early hours of the morning.

According to the EC, items which were lost included old ballot boxes, used Form 1As/1cs, and referendum materials.

The Ghana National Fire Service is yet to confirm the source of the fire. Meanwhile, the EC says the unfortunate incident will not affect its activities in the upcoming elections.

Lands Commission office in Sekondi



The Ghana National Fire Service on May 5, 2019, had to intervene in the situation to save the Sekondi Office of the Stool Lands Administration and Land Valuation from being razed by fired. The partly wooden and over 100-year old structure, located at the entrance of the Western Regional Lands Commission caught fire, leading to the loss of some important documents.

The Executive Director of the Lands Commission, Dr Odame Larbi, revealed that the lost documents were those being processed adding that all the burnt documents were intact.

“The bulk of the land record is intact and everybody who has got a completed document with the Commission is safe, none of those documents got burnt,” he said.

Ghana Revenue Authority Head office Annex



On December 1, 2019, a major fire outbreak was recorded at the Ghana Revenue Authority Head office Annex around the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

The fire destroyed portions of the building. Although there were claims that huge sums of money were burnt in the cause of the fire, authorities refuted the rumours.

According to the Ghana National Fire Service, the GRA disregarded recommendations to improve fire safety systems at their office.

The Commissioner-General of GRA, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah however dismissed the claims, saying, “we have not seen the recommendations the GNFS was referring to, although we’re in regular contact. We constantly invite the fire safety authorities and even train our personnel. We have not necessarily seen the recommendations. We will work with them to make sure that lives and property are protected”.

Old Parliament House



The old Parliament House in Accra near the Arts Centre which used to accommodate the offices of the Judgment Debt Commissioner, Commission for Human Right and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) and Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) was destroyed by fire in December 2013.

According to reports, almost everything in the chamber was destroyed, the items included reports of the Auditor General and audited accounts of some institutions, computers and files.

Job 600 Office Complex



The timely intervention of the Ghana National Fire Service saved part of the Job 600 building from being destroyed by fire.

The incident was recorded on the 10th floor of the Complex.

At the time of the incident, Members of Parliament and some parliament officials and staff had to quickly rush out of the building. It took the efforts of firemen to bring the fire situation under control.

Central Medical Stores



Investigations from a joint investigation by the BNI and the Fire service confirmed a fire outbreak at the Central Medical Stores in Tema was a case of arson.

The incident happened on January 13, 2015.

Per reports, some persons deliberately set fire to the facility to cover up the massive theft and fraud at the CMS. The fire destroyed over GH¢261 million worth of medicines and consumables.

The act is said to have been carried out to destroy the evidence for an investigation that was supposed to be conducted by the Economic and Organised Crime Office over suspected corruption at the stores.

Some suspects, about 12 were arrested in connection to the issue.

According to the current Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, plans are underway to reconstruct the Central Medical Stores by the end of 2020.

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