Saturday 19 April 2014

Arrest over Ghana store collapse

Ghana troops provide security as rescue workers clear rubble from the remainder of a collapsed building in Accra (AP)

Authorities in Ghana have detained a municipal works official accused of allowing a building that collapsed to be built without a construction permit.

The death toll from the collapse of the Melcom Shopping Centre, in the capital Accra, has risen to 18 and authorities believe other bodies remain in the debris, rescue officials said.

Carl Henry Clerk is accused of allowing the multi-storey home goods store to go up even after being alerted that it had no permit.

The owner of the building, the engineer and the architect are also being sought by police.

The building collapsed into a heap of concrete rubble on Wednesday, trapping dozens of shoppers. Rescue officials say at least 78 survivors were pulled from the debris.

Ghana's National Disaster Management Organisation cited structural weakness as the cause of the collapse, saying: "The foundation was not good enough."

The building, which opened in February, was being leased by Melcom Ltd but the retail company did not construct the building, according to the chief operating officer of Melcom Group of Companies.

President John Mahama declared the scene a disaster zone and cut short his election campaign in the north of the country to visit the site. The presidential election is scheduled for December.

Press Association

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