There too many issues surrounding the construction of a national cathedral in Ghana. The rigmarole surrounding the project starts from the President, Nana Akufo-Addo’s claim that he was building the edifice in fulfilment of a pledge he made to God. He says he made a pledge that if God answers his prayers and makes him the presidency after multiple attempts, he will build the cathedral.
That claim left some citizens wondering if the president was within his constitutional limits with that proclamation. But he went ahead anyway and ordered the start of construction which included the pulling down of homes occupied by judges to create space for the cathedral.
But even more, there have been conflicting narratives about whether the cathedral would be financed by the State or private funds. There is evidence however, that State funds are being used, without Parliamentary approval – as expenditures of that nature require.
Questions have also been raised about the legal status of the entity managing of the project. Then there are issues of how much it would cost.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has been cited in some news reports putting the estimated cost at $100 million in 2019. In 2021, it was estimated to cost $200 million. The Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the Cathedral, Victor Kusi Boateng told the media that the estimated budget for the construction was $200 million in 2021.
Then in June this year, Mr Ofori-Atta said on GTV that the estimated cost is $350 million. Meanwhile, the lawyer for the construction company, the Italian firm, Rizzani de Eccher has mentioned $400 million.
In an interview with Legal500, a website that publishes analysis of the capabilities of law firms around the world, Simone Bagnariol, the lawyer said his legal team has been able to finalise a $400 million contract for a cathedral project in Ghana.
Bagnariol was asked: What are the most significant cases or transactions that your legal team has recently been involved in?
His answer: “Our legal team has just been able to finalise a $400 million contract for the project of a cathedral in Ghana. We secured a €200m deal for the new headquarter of the European Investment Bank in Luxemburg. The Rizzani de Eccher legal team, has also been involved in the final arbitration hearing against a state of the Gulf for a total of $300 million.”
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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