Melcom Tragedy: One Melcom Staff Unaccounted For

A staff member of the Melcom Achimota branch still remains unaccounted for after rescue efforts at the collapsed Melcom building at Achimota formally ended on Monday.

Out of the total number of 81 persons rescued from under the debris, 63 were Melcom staff contrary to an earlier figure of 50.

Addressing the press on Monday, the Public Relations Officer of Melcom, Richmond Oduro Kwarteng gave an account of its staff members who were affected by the incident.

As part of its efforts to avert a repetition of last week’s tragedy, Melcom has employed the services of a team of engineers to ascertain the current state of all its buildings across the country.

The shopping giant has come under fire from its workers who allege they informed management about cracks on the walls at the Achimota branch as well as other branches. Mr. Kwarteng denied the allegations saying management’s attention was never drawn to the cracks.

He told Citi Business News, “when such things happen, everybody panics and say all sorts of things. It’s rumour; I don’t know of any cracks. If there are cracks, now that there is this situation, I’m sure that the authorities would have been here and they would have asked us to close down. So when it happens like that, people will panic and say all sorts of things but the truth of it, we leave it to the authorities.”

“You may have your own internal Engineers who will not be able to do the job that is required so we have contracted well certified structural Engineers to go round and check all the buildings especially the ones that we didn’t build. The ones we built, we have lots of confidence in them,” he said.

He also dismissed assertions that the company contributed to the collapse of their shopping center in Achimota.

Mr. Kwarteng explained that “the whole of the structure was put there, we have not made any changes to the structure and it’s in the agreement with the landlord. We didn’t go there and make any changes. The only things Melcom did were the fittings which is the AC’s (Air Conditioners) and electrical installations.”

Meanwhile, Melcom has promised make provision for the entire medical expenses of the injured as well as foot the funeral expenses of the dead. It will also bear the cost of counseling for affected persons.