We don’t want money for National Cathedral to come from taxpayers – Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral project has said they do not need monetary support for the construction from the government, aside from the seed money.
A member of the Board, Joyce Rosalind Aryee, said their focus is on the Christian community to help construct the project.
According to her, they [Board of Trustees] understand the issues Ghanaians have raised against the usage of state funds for the construction.
Speaking on GTV’s Talking Point on Sunday, September 4, Madam Joyce Aryee insisted that they will not depend on state funding for the construction.
“I know some people feel very strongly against and it is okay and it is okay to feel very strongly against it because nobody will us to do it.”
“In fact, the reason why we are sitting here talking is that apart from the seed money that the president promised, we don’t want money to come from the taxpayer.
“We don’t want the money to come from the taxpayer that is why we are sitting here today that let us all give to support,” she said.
Work on the National Cathedral project is currently suspended. This is because its Secretariat has run out of capital to finance the construction.
Dr Paul Opoku-Mensah revealed this in a JoyNews interview on Tuesday, August 30.
“We have the contractors and their staff on site, but the work has been suspended. We are hoping that within the next couple of weeks, as part of our fundraising and other initiatives we can begin work again,” he stated.
According to him, “our ability to complete this work keenly depends on Ghanaians supporting it.”
Meanwhile, the Auditor-General has said GH¢142,762,500 was spent on the edifice as of December 2021.
National Cathedral Controversies
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 dished out towards the construction of the project.
These monies, he said, were paid 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 have since gotten many influential individuals and pressure groups questioning the transparency and accountability of government.
About the project
The building of the Cathedral fulfills 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.
It is also scheduled to be commissioned on March 6, 2024.
Source: Ernest Arhinful