A government spokesperson has urged Ghanaians to be grateful to President Akufo-Addo for his visionary decision to construct a National Cathedral.
According to Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, the economic value of the project will transform the prospects of the country.
He made these assertions on JoyNews’ AM Show on Tuesday.
“The economic value when we are done [with the Cathedral] as a country you would appreciate the number of people that will come into this country, because there is a Bible Museum that is being built. I had the opportunity to study in Israel for three years and I saw the number of people who journeyed from around the world to come to Jerusalem on pilgrimage.
“And on this continent, Christians will appreciate that our lord jesus came to Egypt, so if we have a Cathedral that represents the faith of the people, it is something that we all must be grateful to President Akufo-Addo for,” he stated.
Discussions on the controversial project resurfaced in the media space earlier this year after controversies surrounding the financing of the project heightened.
The Finance Minister had announced that an amount of GH¢25 million had been released to the project consultants in May, 2022.
This was the second time money tagged as “seed money” was being released except that in the first instance, the amount involved was $25 million and it was said to have been paid in November 2020.
Despite the issuance of about three press statements, many were still unclear in their minds about the financing arrangements for the construction of the Cathedral which had been described by the President as a “priority of priorities”.
However, Mr Boakye-Danquah mounted a strong defense for the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
According to him, Mr Ofori-Atta has not breached any constitution in the withdrawal of the amount of money that was given as seed capital to the National Cathedral project.
“In all budget that was presented, we stated as a country that we are going to support with land, secretariat and seed capital. So as a government we have updated the Ghanaian people in all of our budget statements in addition to all other infrastructure works that we are doing,” he noted.
The populace started questioning the project’s source of financing when the North Tongue MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, put out documents showing that an amount of GH¢200 million has been released for the construction of the project.
These monies, he said, were dished out without recourse to parliamentary processes or strict public procurement practices.
According to Mr Ablakwa, the Akufo-Addo administration first proclaimed the project as a private and personal pledge; however, public funds are now siphoned to facilitate the task.
He added that the inclusion of the National Cathedral’s Executive Director on the roll of presidential staffers also flies in the face of the law.
“When you go through the list of Board of Trustees, this gentleman [Dr Paul Opoku Mensah] who has been enlisted here as the Executive Director of the Secretariat, a Secretariat presented as a private entity, has also been enlisted as a presidential staffer and his position there is an overseer of the National Cathedral.
“Why is the Ghanaian taxpayer paying somebody who works for a private board of trustees?” he quizzed.
His revelations has since gotten many influential individuals and pressure groups questioning the transparency and accountability of government.
Genesis of National Cathedral
The building of the Cathedral fulfils a pledge President Akufo-Addo revealed he made to God before winning the 2016 elections.
In 2019, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, said the construction of the National Cathedral is estimated to cost over $100 million.
It has since been amended to $340 million.
The government has already demolished all structures on the proposed site to construct the National Cathedral at Ridge in Accra, and work is progressing.
It is also scheduled to be commissioned on March 6, 2024.
The 5,000-seater auditorium project will also bequeath to the country a gracious national park for all Ghanaians, bring new skills, technology and jobs, and act as a beacon to national, regional and international tourists.
Meanwhile, works on the project has been suspended.
But President Akufo-Addo says he is committed to fulfilling the promise.
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