National Cathedral: Government paid David Adjaye, design team GH¢113 million - Secretariat

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Wed, 4 Jan 2023 Source: classfmonline.com

The amount paid directly to the Consultant, Adjaye Associates & Design Team, in connection with the National Cathedral is GH¢ million, Executive Director Dr Paul Opoku Mensah has revealed.

Speaking at a bible-reading marathon on Monday, 2 January 2023, Dr Opoku Mensah clarified that all the funds allocated to the construction of the edifice have been accounted for to the pesewa and none went missing.

He said GH¢339 million of state funds has been expended on the cathedral as of December 2022.

Dr. Opoku Mensah reported to President Akufo-Addo and the media at the event: “For purposes of clarity, I want to report a verbatim memo I sent on this issue dated 19 January 2022 and addressed to the Clerk of Parliament”.

“The indication was that the government has given us GH¢339 million and we could account for GH¢225 million leaving GH¢114 million missing”, he noted.

“Here, I quote what I wrote to the Clerk: 'As we indicated to the Committee on Thursday, December 15, 2022, the total amount paid by the government of Ghana to the National Cathedral project is GH¢339 million. This total is made up of the following: the amount paid directly to the National Cathedral Secretariat is GH¢225 million. The amount paid directly to the Consultant, Adjaye Associates & Design Team is GH¢ million. The two payments total GH¢339.003.064.86'.”

Dr. Opoku Mensah, thus, dispelled claims that some monies allocated for the construction of the cathedral cannot be accounted for.

“So, there are no missing funds that could not be accounted for. Secondly, the detailed account for these funds was provided to Parliament on 15 December 2022 by the Secretariat”.

“In the case of the accounting from the Secretariat, this involves among others, total payments made to the contractor, and total payments made to the Bible Museum and Biblical Gardens Design Team.”

He also expressed the secretariat’s displeasure at the “misrepresentation” of facts on the project by some Members of Parliament.

“While projects of this nature will always have discontent, we are nonetheless concerned about the misrepresentations, particularly when it comes from Members of Parliament”, he mentioned.

“For instance, the continued misrepresentation of the contract to the consultants is worrying as none of the amount bandied around comes anywhere near the contract amount.

“Rather than 34% that they said we’d paid the architect, actually, the contract figure is 12.5% when the Ministry of Works and Housing allows for 15.5%. And the 12.5% will not change irrespective of what happens to the total cost”.

“More critically, the contract is not for an architect, but for a set of consultants’ services involving 15 international and Ghanaian firms of which Sir David Adjaye Associates is the lead consultant.”

In the 2023 budget, the government allocated a sum of GH¢80 million toward the construction of the cathedral, however, the minority caucus succeeded in disapproving it.

The money was, however, reallocated to the communications and road sectors.

A few weeks ago, President Akufo-Addo said his decision to build the cathedral to the glory of God has more supporters than the ‘Sanballats and Tobiahs’ against it.

“Just like Sanballat and Tobiahs in the days of Nehemiah, there are some who do not share my views on the building of the National Cathedral”, the president said, adding: “I respect their right to differ but I am confident my decision [is backed] by the vast numbers of enthusiastic supporters of this project, whose spiritual dimension is limitless”.

The president made the comment on Sunday, 18 December 2022, when he delivered an address at the centenary celebration of the Ga Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, held at the Black Star Square, Accra.

The president noted that upon completion, the National Cathedral will serve not only as the country’s collective thanksgiving “to the Almighty for the blessings He has bestowed on our nation, sparing us the ravages of civil war that have bedevilled the histories of virtually all our neighbours, and the outbreak of deadly mass epidemics but also as a rallying point for the entire Christian community of Ghana, which represents seventy-plus per cent of the population.”

Addressing the congregation, which included the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, the asked the Ga Presbytery, and, indeed, all Christians, to continue to pray for Ghana’s peace and unity, so the nation can move forward in unity.

“I need the support of every Ghanaian, together with the prayers of the church, to help me and my government carry out our mandate successfully. Pray for me so that Almighty God will continue to give me wisdom, strength, courage and compassion to enable me to execute my duties as a good leader. With Him, all things are possible, as the battle is the Lord’s. For this, too, shall pass”, President Akufo-Addo said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, recently said the National Cathedral is not a sensible project to undertake in the midst of an economic crisis.

In his view, the government could use the site for the project, for a more sensible venture.

Speaking at a roundtable organised by the Citizen’s Coalition in Accra on Thursday, 15 December 2022, Professor Prempeh said making allocations for the cathedral in the 2023 budget beats his imagination.

“When you are in a crisis, you can do exceptional things, I don’t see anything in the budget to suggest that this is a crisis and that this is being done as an emergency measure,” Professor Prempeh said.

“This is not the time for vanity projects but we have preserved a vanity project in the form of the cathedral. I was expecting that this being a crisis period, we will reflect on that decision and say: ‘even if this is sensible to do at all’ – and I do not think so – that it will not be the appropriate period or we will change the idea to something else".

“There is a lot that we can still do with that site which can make sense”.

“So, generally it is a missed opportunity in terms of seeing this as a crisis moment and seeing it as a moment to reset the button”, Prof Prempeh noted.

“I think we have not quite done that”, he stressed.

“It looks to me that it is purely an emergency thing targeted at the IMF to approve a loan, as opposed to something that is going deep into the structure and our governance,” Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh admonished in his assessment.

Prof Prempeh is in good company with pressure group OccupyGhana which recently recommended that the government suspend all public expenditure on the National Cathedral considering that the country is going through an economic crisis.

“Whatever arguments there might have been to support spending now-non-existent money on the proposed National Cathedral, have been eroded by the dire straits that the nation faces”, the group said in a statement.

“Our current situation makes the continued commitment in the budget to spend GH¢80 million on the cathedral, look like a vanity project”, it noted.

OG said: “We lose nothing by suspending expenditure on that project until the economy recovers”.

The National Cathedral was a personal promise made to God by then-presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo if he won the 2016 election.

Source: classfmonline.com
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