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29.05.2008 Business & Finance

GNFS closes down three companies in Tema

By Richard Attenkah, Tema - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Tema Regional branch of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, has closed down three companies in Tema, for non-compliance with fire safety regulations.

The companies are the Pioneer Cooperative Cold Store Complex Limited, Hillpok Limited (Shipping Services Division), providers of shipping services, and Servistar Cold Store, wholesalers of frozen foods.

The closure of the three companies, which forms part of the second phase of an ongoing exercise, embarked upon by the GNFS, under its annual inspection of Fire Certificates, of companies operating in the Tema Metropolitan area, was carried out at the Tema Fishing Harbour, over the weekend.

Speaking to journalists, the leader of the team, Divisional Officer (DO) Jones E. Sarpong, who is also the Regional Fire Safety Officer, said his outfit distributed letters to about 29 companies operating within the Tema Metropolitan area, without Fire Certificates.

According to him, the letters were to inform them to report at the Tema regional headquarters of the GNFS, to begin with the process of obtaining their Fire Certificates, because it was an offence for a company to operate without it.

Portions of the letter, as spotted by the paper, reads; “Failure of obtain the Fire Certificate could attract a fine of not exceeding 250 penalty units, or imprisonment for a term of 12 months.”

The Pioneer Cooperative Cold Store Complex Limited, according to our information, was closed down for operating without a Fire Certificate, and failing to report at the GNFS regional head office, as stipulated in the letter.

The Regional Officer, Jones Sarpong, told media personnel that Hillpok Limited was closed down, because the company's fire extinguisher was empty, and had not been serviced for many months.

Mr. Sarpong cautioned the general public, especially those who need to use fire extinguishers in their operations, to ensure that they service their fire extinguishers every six months, adding, “We should never allow our fire extinguishers to go empty.”

He also appealed to companies, which have already obtained their Fire Certificates, to endeavour to renew them annually.

Servistar Cold Store, on its part, was sealed because the company had been repackaging rotten frozen foods, such as fish, chicken products, pork and cow legs, and selling it to the general public.

The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) officer in charge of the Tema office, Kwame Nsiah Poku, disclosed that about 500 cartons of frozen meat were rotten.

He said most of the meat was stacked on the bare floor, unable to get good ventilation, leading to the emanation of a bad smell from the rotting meat.

But the Managing Director of Servistar Cold Store, Sylvester Spain, denied that they were repackaging the rotten meat for resale to the general public.

According to him, the unwholesome state of the meat was as a result of the malfunctioning of the freezing system in the cold store, and that his workers were assessing the cost of the rotten meat.

He was however arrested by personnel of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), who were on the GNFS team which embarked on the exercise.

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