Melcom Group of Companies has emphasized the need for the country to protect local investors in order to attract more foreign investors.
“The support and protection that the local investor enjoys invariably serves as a catalyst to whip up interest in external investors,” Director of Communications for the Group, Mr. Godwin Avenorgbo, indicated at a press briefing in Accra last Wednesday.
The retail market giant was reacting to issues relating to the sudden collapse of a 6-storey building it rented from Nana Kwesi Boadu, Director of Kinsadus Company Limited, Accra in 2012.
Mr. Avenorgbo bemoaned the delay in releasing the report on the collapse of that Achimota property.
“Five years on, Melcom, as an investor creating jobs in Ghana, is concerned that not a single investigative report on the collapse of that property has been released,” he said.
Consequently, the Melcom Group raised certain questions that it wants answered in the investigative report. These included: Was the construction covered by a building permit by the relevant state agency? Was soil test conducted before such a huge 6-storey building was put up? Was a qualified structural engineer contracted for the project? Were the building materials used of the right specification and mix?
According to Mr. Avenorgbo, if the investigative report answers no to any or all of these questions, then the obvious cause of the sudden collapse of the building was improper, shoddy and haphazard construction without permit, supervision and technical expertise.
“It is very disappointing that in the face of these obvious failures, the owner of the structure that collapsed, causing death, injury and loss of business, has not been brought to book under the laws of Ghana.
“Melcom as an investor operates within the laws of Ghana and we expect that the same law should protect our investment as security and incentive for growing our business for the larger benefit of the economy,” he stressed.
Mr. Avenorgbo added that the various state agencies that are connected to the collapse of the building that housed the old Melcom shop at Achimota must fast-track their processes and procedures to bring justice to bear and finality to the case.
The Melcom Group believes that five years is obviously too long for any business house or entity which suffered such huge losses in human and material resources to look on helplessly while the inaction of state agencies allows the culprit freedom without any penalty to serve as a deterrent to others.
“If the regulatory arms do not take such matters seriously, then we should not be surprised if such huge levels of negligence cause further avoidable loss of life and property.”
Meanwhile, Melcom has constructed and opened a new shopping center at Achimota, officially named Achimota Melcom and cited close to where the rented property collapsed.
The company says: “That shop was constructed with the view to demonstrating our commitment to adhering to best practices and safety standards in doing business with the customer as focus.”