Okudzeto calls for dissolution of National Cathedral Board of Trustees, closure of Secretariat 

Okudzeto Ablakwa (middle)

Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament of North Tongu, has called for the immediate dissolution of the Board of Trustees and the closure of the Secretariat of the National Cathedral for failure to effectively execute their mandate.

He said the Government must also give full account on what happened to the $58,141509.52 (GH¢740 million), which was supposed to be used to commence construction works on the Cathedral and why the contractors, RIBADE JV, abandoned the project for lack of payment two years ago.

The National Democratic Congress Legislator said this on Wednesday when he led some colleague Minority members, the media, security personnel among others to satirically “commission” the National Cathedral Project, even before it was completed, as a symbolic gesture to highlight government’s perceived failure to finish it.

However, enroute from the Parliament House to the project site at Ridge, the members had a confrontation with some personnel of the Military and the Ghana Police Service, who had mounted barricades restricting access to the premises. 

Mr Ablakwa explained that on Thursday, July 29, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, during his presentation of the 2021 Mid-year Budget Review to Parliament, announced that the Cathedral would be officially commissioned on March 6, 2024. 

“Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament that work on the Cathedral was progressing speedily and would be ready for commissioning in March 2024.” 

Mr Ablakwa, therefore, expressed dismay over the “misuse” of the tax-payers money and called for the Board of Trustees and the National Cathedral Secretariat to account for all private donations so far received. 

“…All those responsible for this gross financial loss to the state must be prosecuted with immediate effect,” he said.

He demanded an explanation from President Akufo-Addo on his inability to fulfil his promise to God to commission the “$450 million (GH¢5.7 billion) Cathedral as scheduled for March 6, 2024.

He called for a national debate leading to a possible consensus on the next plans to be taken on the project.

“Some have suggested a specialist children’s hospital, which Ghana currently lacks, we also note that recently the Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah suggested the place be converted to a hospital,” he said. 

The National Cathedral project was proposed by the government in March 2017 as a physical embodiment of national unity, harmony, and spirituality, the design of which was unveiled by the President in March 2018.

At the time, the President said the “construction was a fulfilment of a promise he made to God in the run-up to the general election in 2016.”

The $100-million inter-denominational Cathedral is expected to have an auditorium capable of seating 5,000, as well as chapels and a baptistery. 

The site would also house a music school, an art gallery, and a museum dedicated to the Bible.

The project, which was designed by renowned architect David Adjaye, later received criticisms from the public who perceived it was “a misplaced priority.”

The criticisms heightened when the Government had to demolish some state property, including accommodation for judges at a prime area in Accra, to pave the way for the construction of the Cathedral.  

Source: GNA

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