The Group noted that the report, which also stated that there was panic among customers at 10:00 hours on the day in question as a result of the cracks, was untrue.
Speaking at a news conference in Accra, Mr Godwin Avenorgbo, the Director of Communications, Melcom Group of Companies, said he personally led a team of experts to the Melcom Plus Facility to inspect the alleged crack, which turned out to be no crack at all, but what structural engineers define as 'Expansion Join[u1] t.'
Mr Avenorgbo further explained that an expansion joint is an assembly designed to safely absorb the heat-induced expansion and contraction of construction materials, to absorb vibration, to hold parts together or to allow movement due to ground settlement or earth shift; and are commonly found between sections of buildings, bridges, railway tracks, piping systems, among others.
In the particular instance of the Melcom Plus Shop, there are two ‘sections of buildings’ with such openings to take care of expansion or movement joints between the three structures that look to the ordinary eye as one building,” he added.
The Director of Communications said the reporter alleged he was reporting from the shop at 10:00 hours and customers were ‘gripped by panic’ at the shop, whereas around 09:45 hours, he (the Director of Communications) was at the premises together with structural maintenance experts to welcome the reporter by name Mr Kwetey Nartey.
He said he further asked the reporter to state the case of the alleged crack, after which they led him into the shop to point out the cracks which however, turned to be expansion joints and not cracks.
Mr Avenorgbo again stated that the team later returned to the Company’s head office with the reporter to show him design drawings of the facility, they answered all his questions using drawings to explain in details, as well as show him certificate of completion for habitation, issued by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
“How amazing it sounded that Joy News at 12 noon was reporting cracks in the Melcom building resulting in panic, yet we were there in the shop, saw customers moving from floor to floor shopping and no one noticed even an argument between two people let alone witness panic,” he noted.
He revealed that the Company would report this conduct of irresponsible journalism to the National Media Commission, the Ghana Journalist Association, officials of Multimedia and other stakeholders.
He, therefore, stressed that the media house (Joy FM) was at liberty to retract the false impression within two days, else they would be obliged to seek legal intervention to protect its hard won reputation as Ghana’s leading retail agent.
Mr Avenorgbo also urged the media to investigate issues thoroughly before disseminating information to the general public for consumption.
In a demonstration, Mr Edward Sanjok, the Chief Engineer, Tema Development Corporation, said the empty gap left in between large pillars were usually filled or covered with soft materials to prevent other living organisms from occupying; to create problems.
After hitting the large pillars using an instrument called Schmidt hammer, which measured 28, 28 and 33 newton per square millimeter (N/mm²) on three different occasions, Mr Sanjok interpreted that the building was safe and stronger as compared to the standard requirement of about 25 newton per square millimeter (N/mm²)
He, therefore, explained that the empty gap in between the pillars was referred to as concrete expansion joint, and not a crack.
Mr Bhagwan Khubchandani, the Chairman and other directors of the Melcom Group of Companies, together with their lawyers, engineers, officials from AMA and National Disaster Management Organisation were also present at the function.