Building tragedy: three in police custody By Mkinga Mkinga and Orton Kiishweko THE CITIZEN The contractor and two other people involved in the construction of the 10-storey building, which collapsed in Dar es Salaam on Saturday, surrendered themselves to the police yesterday. The Dar es Salaam Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Suleiman Kova, told reporters that the three men had turned themselves in as investigations into the incident began. Three people narrowly escaped death when the building under construction collapsed and slammed into another belonging to the National Housing Corporation on Mtendeni Street in downtown Dar es Salaam. The three, who included a catering business owner, Mrs Rubab Dhassee, were in the NHC building at about 10.30 am, when they heard a loud bang as the building came tumbling down. A combined team of the police, army and other rescuers later pulled them out of the rubble. Yesterday, the RPC said his officers had spent the whole day interrogating the three suspects who went to Central Police Station in the morning. The three now in police custody, include the proprietor of NK Decorators Ltd, the main contractors, Mr Kantlaar Premji Laxman, 58. The others are 55-year-old Athanas Mwageni, a structural consultant with a company called Codec, and 46-year-old Satish Godhan Narah, a site supervisor. Mr Kova appealed to the architect, Mr Jonas Ndeme, to also present himself to the officers at the Central Police Station for interrogation before Monday morning. The first person to be taken into police custody in connection with the collapsed building was the Ilala municipal engineer, Mr Robert Nassoro, who was arrested at the site on Saturday. Mr Nassoro, who had told reporters that he had not issued a permit for the construction of the building despite the fact that the work has been going on since last December, was saved from an irate mob baying for his blood by police who shielded him, took him to their vehicle and drove him away. Yesterday, commenting on the incident, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda warned that the five engineers involved in the construction and the owner of the building would face stern action. Mr Pinda also called for a special quality and quantity audit of all the buildings put up by the firm to avert similar incidents. According to the Premier, the professionals involved in the collapsed building should be charged with grave negligence. Speaking to The Citizen by telephone, Mr Pinda said: ''This is pure negligence. All those responsible should face the law.'' The main contractor, water, electrical and municipal engineers must be made to explain what caused the building under construction to collapse, the PM said. Asked what became of the report of a special committee appointed by former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa to investigate the quality of all major buildings in Dar es Salaam, Mr Pinda said: ''I have read the report today and it has some shocking findings.'' Among other things, the committee established that the mushrooming storey buildings in Dar es Salaam and other parts of the country had been built illegally and without observing construction rules and regulations. The committee also revealed that some contractors and their clients, being driven by greed, were using unqualified personnel to supervise construction works. The ratio of construction materials, including cement, sand, iron steel, electrical and other installations did not match required standard. Some clients were opting to buy substandard materials, the committee said. It also established that there was no close monitoring of the construction of storey buildings, especially in Dar es Salaam, with some government engineers colluding with contractors and clients to endorse poor construction works. The committee also established that there was ''an unholy trinity'' involving municipal/city engineers, contractors and clients, which moral and ethical considerations. Meanwhile, an electrical engineer who worked on the project before he fell out with his bosses, claimed yesterday that he had warned about the poor standard of the construction of the building but was ignored. He said that some three months ago, he disagreed with his bosses, after his complaints that the work was being done unprofessionally went unheeded.