A Senior Lecturer at the Marketing Department of the Kumasi Technical University KsTU Dr Collins Kankam Kwarteng has called for the immediate arrest of managers of the Kejetia new market in the Kumasi Metropolis of the Ashanti.
His calls follows revelation that, fire certificate and insurance on the facility had expired for over a year now without renewal.
Traders at the Kejetia Market on Wednesday witnessed a devastating fire outbreak destroying some 54 shops and wares worth millions of cedis. It later came out that insurance policy and fire certificate on the facility were not active as it had expired long time ago.
GNFS not to be blamed
The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) says it cannot be held responsible for the new Kejetia market fire following failure on the part of managers of the facility to adhere to safety regulations.
According to the GNFS, it directed managers of the market through a letter to renew its fire certificate and as well work on some defects on the facility before they could issue them the certificate.
GNFS explained that the managers failed to rectify some fire safety issues, hence the fire that occurred Wednesday, March 15 stressing that the blame cannot be placed at its door steps.
Speaking to newsmen in Kumasi after visiting the scene on Thursday March 16, 2023 , the Ashanti Regional Fire Commander, ACFO1 Henry Giwah, explained, “so far as I’m concerned they don’t have a fire certificate, but our men are there making sure that things are working. We identified some lapses, we informed management of the market, they promised to fix it for which reason we have not even renewed their certificate. We were going to make sure those things are rectified first. They promised to fix the defects when we wrote to them, that is where we were and the fire occurred”.
He further said, “they actually applied for renewal, and we told them exactly what we want them to do before we can renew. There are minimum qualifications they needed to meet before it could be granted”.
Asked if the GNFS failed managers of the new Kejetia market by watching the illegalities, he said, “maybe you can also say that, but not that our men have been watching unconcerned. They have been doing what they are supposed to do, they have been recommending every now and then. I had the opportunity of bringing this as far as to the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC)”.
Speaking on OTEC 102.9 FM’s morning show Nyansapo, on Friday March 17,2023, hosted by Captain Koda, Dr Kwarteng it was very surprising to learn the facility was operating without insurance policy.
“Was the market fit for purpose after it had its fire certificate and insurance cover expired? “
“What were the board and management doing when the facility was operating without insurance? “he quizzed.
Dr Kwarteng has called for the immediate resignation of the Management and the board chairman.
Trading activities suspended
Trading activities at the Kumasi Kejetia new market in the Ashanti Region has been suspended for the next three days.
The Management of Kumasi City Market Limited (KCML) says the Kejetia Market Complex will be shut down on Thursday March 16, 2023 and opened to the public the next Monday.
This follows a fire outbreak on the market that started in the early hours of Wednesday, March 15 destroying about 54 shops in the process.
The decision follows a recommendation by the Ashanti Regional Minister Hon Simon Osei on the management to close down the facility for further investigations.
Hon Simon Osei Mensah on Thursday visited the fire scene and appelaled the the traders to suspend trading activities to allow security agencies work at the scene.
Hon Simon Osei Mensah maintained that, the closure will allow fire officers to check the structural integrity of the facility.