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Govt draining pockets of ordinary Ghanaians in the name National Cathedral – Ansa-Asare

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The Akufo-Addo administration is squeezing the last drop from every Ghanaian to fund the President’s National Cathedral dream, according to former Ghana School of Law Director Kwaku Ansa-Asare.

Mr. Ansa-Asare described the Akufo-Addo government as the most corrupt in Ghana’s history, highlighting the substantial amount of taxpayers’ money invested in the President’s personal pledge to build a national cathedral.

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“We want to build the Cathedral, so, we take the monies. They used the Cathedral to milk us. the government is milking the ordinary Ghanaian,” he complained.

In January 2023, Dr. Paul Opoku Mensah, the Executive Director of the National Cathedral Secretariat, denied that any government-allocated funds for the cathedral project had gone missing.

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At the project site, he informed President Nana Akufo-Addo and the media on Tuesday, January 2, 2023, that:

“For purposes of clarity, I want to report a verbatim memo I sent on this issue dated 19th January 2022 and addressed to the Clerk of Parliament.”

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“The indication was that the government has given us GHS339 million and we could account for GHS225 million leaving GHS114 million missing.”

”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 GHS339 million. This total is made up of the following: the amount paid directly to the National Cathedral Secretariat is GHS225 million. The amount paid directly to the Consultant, Adjaye Associates & Design Team is GHS113.040.54.67 million. The two payments total GHS339.003.064.86’.”

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 December 15, 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 conveyed the secretariat’s dissatisfaction with certain Members of Parliament for, in his words, misrepresenting the project’s realities.

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

“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,” he said.

In January 2023, Dr. Paul Opoku Mensah, the Executive Director of the National Cathedral Secretariat, denied that any government-allocated funds for the cathedral project had gone missing.

At the project site, he informed President Nana Akufo-Addo and the media on Tuesday, January 2, 2023, that:

“For purposes of clarity, I want to report a verbatim memo I sent on this issue dated 19th January 2022 and addressed to the Clerk of Parliament.”

“The indication was that the government has given us GHS339 million and we could account for GHS225 million leaving GHS114 million missing.”

”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 GHS339 million. This total is made up of the following: the amount paid directly to the National Cathedral Secretariat is GHS225 million. The amount paid directly to the Consultant, Adjaye Associates & Design Team is GHS113.040.54.67 million. The two payments total GHS339.003.064.86′.”

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 December 15, 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 over what he described as a 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.”

“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,” he said.

In the 2023 budget, government allocated a sum of GHS80million towards the construction of the cathedral, however, the Minority succeeded in disapproving it.

In the view of Mr Ansa-Asare, scandals like the cathedral saga, are a testament to how endemic corruption has been in the Akufo-Addo government.

“I don’t have the statistics but watching the political terrain, and the various approaches to the fight against corruption, I would say that this is the worst government we have ever had to combat corruption,” he told Accra-based Citi FM in an interview.

“I don’t have the statistics but watching the political terrain, and the various approaches to the fight against corruption, I would say that this is the worst government we have ever had to combat corruption,” he told Accra-based Citi FM in an interview.

He continued: “I have said it before. I granted an interview and I said: ‘Any government that will come and shout from the rooftop, ‘I’m going to fight corruption’, will be the worst in terms of fighting corruption. That will be the most corrupt government.'”

“Akufo-Addo’s government is the worst ever, the most corrupt government we have ever had,” Mr Ansa-Asare asserted.

Comparing this government to others in the Fourth Republic, Mr Ansa-Asare scored it ‘F’ as far as corruption fight is concerned.

“At least, I have witnessed Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills and Mahama. If I have to score them and award them marks, the last and worst will be the current government, followed by John Mahama’s government. Mills will be first, Kufuor second, Rawlings third, Akufo-Addo last, in terms of grade one to four.”

“We’re all witnesses to scandal after scandal. The latest is the [Pwalugu] dam. We don’t even know where the dam is. We don’t know what has happened, but there’s a dam.” “One-District-One-Factory: the monies.”

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