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Melcom Disaster: Landlord petitions IGP
From: Ghana | Daily Graphic          Published On: November 23, 2012, 06:18 GMT
 
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Melcom Disaster: Landlord petitions IGP

Nana Nkansah Boadu Ayeboafo


Nana Nkansah Boadu Ayeboafo, the owner of the collapsed building that housed the Melcom Shopping Mall in Achimota, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to investigate the circumstances under which one Yaw Twumasi-Ankrah secured an order from the Accra Community Magistrate Court to remand him in custody.

Nana Ayeboafo, a member of the Kumasi Traditional Council and Chief of Nzema in Kumasi, was remanded in custody by the court on November 8, 2012 in connection with the collapse of the Melcom building, as was Karl Henry Clerke, the Municipal Head of the Works Department of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

In his petition, Nana Ayeboafo said that Twumasi-Ankrah, who is not a lawyer, misrepresented himself as the Legal Officer and Chief Prosecutor of the AMA, not only ensuring that he was taken into custody but also securing an order preventing him and his family from entering their house.

According to the petition, which was copied to the Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Chairman of the General Legal Council, Twumasi-Ankrah had admitted on Accra-based radio station Okay FM that that he was not a lawyer and that his claims to the courts of Ghana that he was a legal officer of the AMA were false.

"Indeed, it takes a man without legal training to put together a very poor case which I am advised is a misdemeanor and requested the magistrate to remand me to the BNI cells," the petition said, adding, "I invite you to investigate this criminal matter in the ultimate interest of justice."

Nana Ayeboafo and Clerke had pleaded not guilty to a provisional charge of negligently causing harm when they were first arraigned and were remanded to reappear on November 30, 2012.

However, the Human Rights Division of the High Court in Accra, on November 16, 2012, granted the two a GH˘5,000 apiece self-recognizance bail and questioned the rationale behind the decision by the Magistrate Court to remand them.

In granting bail, the court explained that the prosecution’s concerns that the accused persons would interfere with investigations into the case when granted bail was not enough to warrant their being remanded, pointing out that bail was a human right which should not be toyed with.

According to the judge, the lower court should have urged the prosecution to show exactly how the accused persons would interfere with investigations.

The facts of the case, as presented by Twumasi-Ankrah, state that at about 9.45 a.m. on November 7, 2012, the five-storey building that housed the Melcom Shopping Mall at Achimota collapsed with workers and shoppers inside.

In the process, about 82 people were trapped, but a combined emergency team from the security agencies was able to rescue a number of them. Others did not survive

In the course of the investigation, it quickly came to light that the owner of the building was Nana Ayeboafo. He is believed to have used substandard materials in the construction of the building, which resulted in its collapse.

In the case of Clerke, the prosecution said he failed to perform his rightful duties.


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