General News of Thu, 19 Apr 201817

Attorney General pleads for time on National Cathedral case

The Attorney General has filed an application for an extension of time at the Supreme court to file their statement of case over the construction of a National Cathedral.

A sole judge, Justice Gabriel Pwamang granted the application and ordered the AG to file within 10 days.

James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr. (known in political circles as Kabila), Director of Elections for the Convention People’s Party (CPP), has dragged President Nana Akufo-Addo to the Supreme Court over the erection of a National Cathedral.

The Plaintiff, suing the president through the Attorney General, is invoking the original jurisdiction of the court to declare that it is wrong for organs of state to be excessively entangled in any religion or religious practice.

The president recently cut the sod for the building of the cathedral on the premises of the Scholarship Secretariat, near the State House in Accra; and it is expected to serve as the venue for formal occasions of state and other national events, as well as an interdenominational worship centre.

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President Nana Addo is reported to have said that the building “is a gesture of thanksgiving to the Almighty for the blessings He has showered and continues to shower on our nation.” It is a legacy project in commemoration of Ghana’s 60 independence anniversary.

Prior to the sod cutting ceremony, Nana Akufo-Addo had also appointed Sheik I.C. Quaye, a former Greater Accra Regional Minister, as head of an 11-member Hajj Board to oversee the organization of the annual Hajj.

But Mr. Bomfeh, who is also the spokesperson for Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, presidential candidate for the CPP in the 2016 elections, is challenging the legality of the project.

Kabila, who claims through his lawyers – led by Abdul Baasit Aziz Bamba – that he is bringing the action in his capacity as a citizen of the country, wants the apex court to declare that the government cannot embark on the project.

“A declaration that by the core values, basic structures and the nature of the 1992 Constitution and upon a combined and contextual interpretation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, particularly Articles 21(b)(c), 35(1)(5)(6)(a), (37)(1) and or 56, it is unconstitutional for Ghana through its organs of government, ministries, agencies, departments and/or authorized representatives to purposely aid, endorse, sponsor, support, offer preferential governmental promotion of, and/or be excessively entangled in any religion or religious practice,” the writ indicates.

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Mr Bomfeh, who was once CPP former National Youth Organiser, also seeks a declaration that the setting up of a Hajj Board by the government for the purposes of coordinating, supporting and/or aiding Ghanaian Muslims to embark on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca [Hajj, one of the pillars of Islam] amounts to purposely adding, endorsing, supporting and/or offering preferential governmental promotion of, and/or excessive entanglement of Ghana with a religion or religious practice and thus unconstitutional.

Aside any further orders, Kabila also wants the Supreme Court to declare that the decision by the government to purposely endorse, assist, aid, partly sponsor and/or the construction of a National Cathedral near the State House of Ghana for Christian Interdenominational Church services amounts to an excessive entanglement of the country in religion which is unconstitutional.

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