Some journalists at the conference room of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) murmured their disapproval when the mayor mentioned the name of Christian Ababio, a building inspector with the assembly.
He alleged that Mr Ababio was one of the corrupt building inspectors who would not stop being corrupt despite numerous cautions. But he was not done yet.
The mayor, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, had called the press conference for two reasons: one humanitarian and other, disciplinary.
He said the government had decided to pay all medical bills of the victims of the Melcom disaster. Also, the government had decided to fund all the funerals for all the 14 persons who perished when the five-storey building collapsed on November 7.
“The lives of families and relatives of all the 81 people, who died or were injured will never be the same,” Mr Vanderpuije said. So the AMA, he said, was setting up a fund in their support. He therefore launched the Achimota Disaster Fund with an initial deposit of GHC 30,000 from the AMA. Waste management company, Zoomlion, also donated GHC10,000 to the fund. He said individuals, groups and corporate bodies who want to donate to the fund should pay into Account number 0090061317021 at Access Bank, Castle Road Branch.
The second part of the press conference touched on what happened at the Melcom Disaster and what the AMA would do to forestall future occurrences of such nature. He said the AMA would be tough on offenders.
The mayor said the AMA was not relenting in clamping down on developers who built without permits, but its effort was being undermined by some corrupt AMA building inspectors who connived with the developers.
He named one Ababio as having connived with the developer of an eight-storey building, intended to be used as a polyclinic upon completion. He said the building had been developed up to the sixth floor without a permit until he chanced on it yesterday near Kwashieman.
The AMA boss said he ordered work to stop while he summoned the developer. It was then that he learned that Mr Ababio had taken GHC3,560 from the developer and was acting as an agent to secure permit and other documents for him.
Those present at the press conference, including all the building inspectors of the assembly, thought “the name and shame” position would end with the mentioning of the publicly naming Mr Ababio. But the mayor had a different agenda.
He called Mr Ababio to come before the cameras. Sweating in an air-conditioned room and looking utterly embarrassed, the man came before an array of video and still cameras. The Mayor then called a police officer to arrest him so that further investigations would be conducted into his alleged corrupt practice.