27 June 2019

Ghana: Telcos Mast Poses Danger At Abeka-Lapaz ... Erected Without Permit

It has been established that statutory institutions did not grant permit for the erection of a telecommunication mast in Abeka-Lapaz in Accra.

The institutions are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Okaikoi North Municipal Assembly (ONMA) and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.

This came to light after months of investigations carried out by the Ghanaian Times.

It was gathered that efforts by residents to get these institutions to stop the erection of the illegal structure which is posing danger to the community was unsuccessful.

The tower, said to belong to one Delasi of Klems Real Estate Consultancy was constructed by Eaton Towers, a telecommunications company.

When contacted, both the owner and contractor could not state whether they had licenses or permits to undertake the work.

The investigation further revealed that the company allegedly ignored a "stop work and produce permit" notice by ONMA on November 20, 2018.

On January 11, 2019, the Ghanaian Times published a story about a petition written by residents of Abeka to Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, calling for the immediate removal of the mast.

A copy of the petition was addressed to the Member of Parliament for Okaikoi Central, Mr Patrick Yaw Boamah and the EPA.

The residents claimed that part of the mast which was erected in December 2018 fell off and damaged the roof of an adjourning property.

Following that, the Ghanaian Times interviewed officials at AMA, EPA and ONMA to ascertain if the complaint of the said tower had come to the attention of the offices.

Mrs Patience Osei Nyarko-Puorideme, Deputy Director of Physical Planning Department, AMA told the Ghanaian Times on May 17, 2019 that the assembly did not issue permit to any company in 2018.

She said the last time the assembly issued such permit was three years ago and that Leadcom is not in "our record books".

Mrs Esther Biney, of the EPA office in Ga West Municipal Assembly, told the Ghanaian Times in a telephone interview that the right thing would be done as soon as possible.

Asked if she knew that the mast fell off and damaged a property, she responded in the negative.

When contacted on June 25, 2019, Mr Richard Odum, a technical officer at ONMA, who inspected the tower could not state if the owner got authorisation or otherwise, but said he had submitted a report to his boss.

Mrs Esther Moffat, the leader of the petitioners said she was concerned that radiations from the 40-foot mast could pose health risk to residents.

She said the tower had already caused damage to the roof of her property.

Some residents who pleaded anonymity said the institutions that should ensure compliance with the regulation had been complicit and could therefore not take action.

Meanwhile, Mr Boamah had responded to the petition addressed to him by the residents in a letter dated December 24, 2018 and assured them that their concerns would be addressed.

"I wish to state the Environmental Protection Agency would look into the matter and resolve it appropriately, said the lawmaker who is also a Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources.

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