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29 June 2017

Market building collapse kills 1; minister suspends 2 officials

The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has ordered the indefinite suspension of two officials of the Techiman Municipal Assembly.

The duo, Alfred Osei Berko, the Municipal Engineer and Isaac Yeboah, the Building Inspector of the Assembly, have been suspended on the orders of the Minister for their possible acts of complicity, and for reneging on their responsibilities resulting in the collapse of a three-story building which is still under construction.

The building collapse led to the death of one person with two others in critical condition as a result of injuries sustained during the collapse.

The Regional Minister subsequently disclosed that he was going to officially write to the Controller and Accountant General’s Office and their bankers, to stop their salaries until a special committee set up to investigate the matter exonerates them.

The Minister, who visited the scene today [Thursday], blamed the cause of the collapse on poor supervision and low-quality materials used in the construction.

He noted that the work was shoddy and from all indications, the collapsed pillars had little cement in it, and appealed to contractors and Ghanaians to be responsible in the execution and discharge of their duties to benefit of the nation.

He has therefore appealed to officials of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), and the  Ghana National Fire Service and all stakeholders to help to bring an end to challenges of such projects to make residents more responsive to their lives.

He warned that the law will soon deal with persons who have put up unauthorized structures in areas that have not been designated for such purpose, and appealed to them to move or relocate before the law catches up with them.

Residents of the region’s biggest commercial town woke up to a disturbing story of the collapse of a three-storey building containing about 30 stores under construction at the Techiman market, resulting in the death of  security man who had slept at the construction site. Two others were critically injured and on admission at the Holy Family Hospital in Techiman.

The incident according to one of the security men on duty, Seidu Mumuni, occurred at about 3:30am at the Wa Station in the Techiman market.

The Regional Minister was at the scene to have firsthand information about the disaster, and promised his outfit’s resolve to get to the bottom of the matter.

The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), John Kofi Donyinah, who earlier on visited the scene, directed the suspension of all ongoing government projects in the municipality for assessment and review to save lives and ensure value for money.

The visibly unhappy MCE ordered all workers on the site to halt operations until all the necessary assessment is conducted by a special committee.

The collapsed storey-building was a project under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the Techiman Municipal Assembly and Alhaji Dan. The construction work was being carried out by Alhaji Dan when the building collapsed.

At the meeting with the Minister, management of the Municipal Assembly, did not only fail to produce documentations covering the PPP agreement, but failed to justify conditions under which the Municipal Assembly authorized and allowed Chiefs of the area to construct stores at the market in a letter that was not signed or dated, completely defying the orders of the Minister on the matter, in a meeting held earlier in the year.

By: Mashoud Kombat/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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