Banks renting in unfinished buildings to face legal action


The Addis Ababa Building Permit and Supervision (ABPS) has written a letter to the city’s Police Commission and Legal Enforcement Bureau telling them to close all bank branches operating in unfinished buildings.
The Authority stated that only Dashen, Abyssinia, Awash, Birhan and Enat banks responded positively. They went on to say that banks are often renting offices before getting approval from the Document Authentication and Registration Office, which often leads to tax avoidance. The building’s developer is often fined when this occurs.
“That’s unsafe,” said Melese Aleka, director of ABPS.
“There’s no way we can know if the buildings are safe or if people can exit easily in the event of a fire or other emergency because we can’t tell if they are up to code. We can’t let people get away with this, we need to know if the building is being supervised,” Melese said.
“We told the bank officials many times but they still continue to rent offices in unfinished buildings so now it is time for the police to get involved and close their branches,” he said to Capital.
Permission to occupy buildings is given only after developers invite city officials to complete inspections on the overall safety of a building. According to the authority’s recent investigation 56 out the 172 buildings they looked at are renting the first or second unfinished floors for banks, supermarkets, night clubs and restaurants. They have also added additional floors without permission and some taller buildings did not have elevators.
Only 20 of the 56 building owners involved in the inspection agreed to close spaces until the construction was completed. The remaining 36 refused to take action.
On April 27, a five-storey unfinished building collapsed in the Bole district, which destroyed the assets, cash and material of Abyssinia and Dashen banks.
A study conducted by the Addis Ababa City Administration Labour& Social Affairs Bureau, found that construction working environments in Addis Ababa to be very poor. Accidents like falls and injuries, falling objects and the collapse of scaffoldings are widespread occurrences at construction sites.