05.04.2005 General News

PSC MD absconds for fear of his life

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Tema, April 5, GNA - Mr Abdul Rahim Jaafar, the Malaysian Managing Director of the PSC Tema Shipyard which caught fire on Good Friday, flew out of Ghana at the weekend, following threats on his life, Mr Solomon Kwawukumey, Head of Corporate/Administration of the PSC told the Ghana News Agency in Tema on Tuesday.

Mr Kwawukumey said other Malaysian Managers of the Company told him on Monday that Mr Jaafar had to sneak out of the country because families of victims of the fire disaster kept threatening his life. Before his departure, Mr Jaafar reportedly left an order suspending all repair works on vessels at the shipyard.

Mr Kwawukumey said on March 31, the committee investigating the accident sent a letter to Mr Jaafar's office, inviting him to appear before it but he could not be reached.

He said he could not tell if Mr Jaafar would return, adding that his family had left for home earlier for holidays before the fire and had not returned.

Mr Kwawukumey said in the absence of the Managing Director, a committee of four managers would take charge of the company. On March 29, when President John Agyekum Kufuor visited the disaster area, he asked that investigations be conducted into why the vessel, from which the fire disaster emanated, was being repaired close to the Tema Oil Refinery pipeline.

Likewise, the entire workers of the Shipyard have also blamed Mr Jaafar for allowing maintenance work at a prohibited area. On Good Friday, the Greek-owned vessel, MV Polaris, registered in Togo, which had been undergoing maintenance work at the PSC Shipyard, close to the TOR pipeline and the VALCO conveyor belt, caught fire, leaving 17 workers dead.

Two of the workers, however, escaped death because they had come out to drink water and fetch some for their colleagues.

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