Monday, November 12, 2012

Death toll in Ghana mall collapse rises to 14

PHOTO | CHRIS STEIN Rescue workers comb through the rubble of a collapsed six-storey mall in Ghana on November 8, 2012.

PHOTO | CHRIS STEIN Rescue workers comb through the rubble of a collapsed six-storey mall in Ghana on November 8, 2012.  AFP

By AFP

ACCRA

The death toll from the collapse of a shopping mall in the Ghanaian capital last week has risen by two to 14, an army officer said on Sunday.

"The latest figure we have is that 14 people are dead and work is still going on at the site," army spokeswoman Commander Veronica Arhin told journalists after the disaster at the six-storey Melcom shopping centre in Accra.

Officials said that 75 people had been pulled alive from the rubble. The previous toll, issued on Saturday, listed 12 dead.

An official investigating the collapse said the building, which opened early this year, lacked a permit and cited structural failure as the cause, adding that the concrete mix used did not appear up to standard.

Ghana's deputy information minister Okudzeto Ablakwa said that the owner of the building, Nana Kwesi Boadu, and a municipal official were being detained as part of the investigation.

"He (Boadu) is there together with Carl Henry Clerk. I confirm that the two are still in custody of the BNI (Bureau of National Investigations) for questioning," he told AFP.

Boadu and Clerk, a director of works in the municipality where the building was located, had been detained since Friday, officials said.

It was not clear how many people were inside the building when it collapsed ahead of opening time on Wednesday. While police initially said around 50 employees worked there, the number of people located has far exceeded that.

The Melcom Group of Companies, based in Ghana, includes extensive retail outlets, according to its website.

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