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4 in custody in Tanzania building collapse

June 23, 2008 at 2:53 PM

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, June 23 (UPI) -- A contractor and three other men were in custody Monday in the weekend collapse of a 10-story building in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, officials said.

The Citizen newspaper in Dar es Salaams reported three other people narrowly avoided being killed when the building under construction fell into another building owned by the National Housing Corp. Saturday. Police and other rescue workers pulled them from the rubble.

Three of the men involved in the construction project turned themselves in to police, Assistant City Police Commander Suleiman Kova told reporters. They were identified as Kantlaar Premji Laxman, 58, owner of NK Decorators Ltd., the main contractor; Athanas Mwageni, 55, a structural consultant with a company called Codec, and site supervisor Satish Godhan Narah, 46, the newspaper said.

Also reported in police custody was municipal engineer Robert Nassoro, and police said they also wanted to question the project's architect, Jonas Ndeme.

Nassoro told reporters he had not issued a permit for the project, although work had started last December.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda warned Sunday those responsible would face serious consequences. He also called for an audit of all buildings erected by the company.

"This is pure negligence. All those responsible should face the law," Pinda told The Citizen.

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