The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Dr Cyril Fayose, has said even though the Church supports President Nana Akufo-Addo and his government’s national cathedral project, the administration must come clean on the whole venture.
“Well you know this is the baby of the government and the President; we should not lose sight of that very important part of this whole process”.
“Even though the churches had willingly come on board, it’s still dear to the heart of the President and the government. So, if things are not moving on well, they may support.”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong if the government supports a religious activity. And I know that in the past previous governments have supported religious activities severally”.
“What is important is if the government does so, to come clean to put everything on the table and let the whole world know that this is what government is doing to help Christians or to help the nation in its quest for the divine”.
“And we do that in several other ways so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that but they must first come clean”, Dr Fayose told Accra-based Joy News.
“Let us be transparent about some of these things and there will be no problem,” he said.
A few days ago, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta revealed that the project, which was initially designed to cost $100 million now will cost $350 million.
Mr Ofori-Atta also wondered if using state funds to build the national cathedral that President Nana Akufo-Addo promised to put up for God if he won the presidency, was too much.
“At any point in time when these buildings were built in Europe, was it ever the right time? How do we fund it will become the question”, he asked in an interview on state-owned GTV on Sunday, 12 June 2022.
“Is the executive mindful of the current situation? We shouldn’t snuff out our religiousness or spirituality because we are poor”, he noted.
“The Lord will understand if we put our widow’s mite in there”, Mr Ofori-Atta noted.
“That question being asked is that: Are we spending money from state coffers? Is that too much to do because we are politicising it? Do we really want to stop it? That is going to be my question.”
He said: “As a minister of finance, we are looking at resources and how much we put in there at every point in time that is sensible and, so, as we speak, we have spent less than one-thousandth of our expenditure on that.”
“I am very confident of raising revenue to be able to fund this and then, more importantly, if I want to look into the economics of it, I truly see an overwhelming capacity that this will pay off.
“Typically, I am looking at an internal rate of return, so, we should put this in mind”, the president’s cousin noted.
The Christian Council is not the first to call for transparency on the project.
Recently, Prophet Dr Kofi Oduro of the Alabaster International Ministry, said President Nana Akufo-Addo is redeeming his personal national cathedral pledge to God through lies and deception.
According to Prophet Oduro, the President and the government said no national funds would be used for the cathedral but that has turned out not to be the case now.
Prophet Oduro, who supports the idea of a national cathedral, however, told OB Nartey on the maiden edition of No.1 FM’s mid-morning show on Monday, 13 June 2022 that the way the president and the government are going about it is wrong.
“Anybody who will say there is no need for a national cathedral has missed the point because we have a national mosque. The essence and the need for a national cathedral is 100 per cent perfect but the way we are going about it, if we are not careful, even Christians will say it offends God”, he said.
“The way government is going about this whole thing; let me use the national mosque for example not a cedi of this nation was used for the construction of the national mosque. It was built by the Turkish government and the Muslim community in Ghana. Why can’t we do the same with the national cathedral? Why are we going to tax this on the nation?”
“There are certain things that are not right. The president made a personal vow to God. That vow must be redeemed but not this strategy, not this method”.
“The purpose is perfect. We need a national cathedral [but] your methodology is wrong”, he told the president, insisting: “Absolutely wrong”.
“You told us that state fund would not be used. No state funds are required. That’s deception. That’s a lie. You are building something for God”, he said.
In his view, President Akufo-Addo could have just invited businessmen and women to the Jubilee House and put his funding request before them and would be surprised that just one person would have given $100,000,000 toward the construction of the national cathedral.
“But the way we are going about it, we are going to drag the names of all these men of integrity on the board of the national cathedral into the mud”.
“We’ll destroy their reputation with this national cathedral”, he warned.
The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, also alleged that on the 29th of October 2020, a few weeks before the national elections, Mr Ofori-Atta, acting on a request by President Akufo-Addo’s Chief of Staff, authorised the release of GHS142,762,500.00 for national cathedral planned activities.
According to Mr Ablakwa, contrary to legal requirements, the government concealed “this ginormous GHS142.7 million from Parliament as they deliberately failed to disclose this item as part of their expenditure returns of 2020 during the 2021 budget consideration in Parliament.”
This 2020 cathedral expenditure, the opposition MP noted, was also kept away from the Auditor-General in his 2020 audit.
In a Facebook post, the lawmaker said so far, adding this latest exposé to his previous leaks, the Akufo-Addo government has spent GHS199,832,603.00 of taxpayer funds on a cathedral which was originally presented to Ghanaians as a personal pledge to God that will not be executed with taxpayer funds.
Digging into the tonnes of documents, Mr Ablakwa stated that many more millions have been paid illegally which “we shall continue to put out to the glory of God and in the overall national interest. On a further scarier note, the figures we are currently reviewing do not look like anything near a seed capital.”
He said this GHS200 million cathedral gate has turned out to be the biggest presidential scandal in Ghana’s entire history.
He described as terribly shocking, how President Akufo-Addo and his men could engage in “such ungodly, illegal and insensitive conduct.”
In the name of a cathedral project, Mr Ablakwa again alleged that a corrupt slush fund has been created to siphon taxpayer funds from the suffering masses on the blind side of Parliament, the Auditor-General, CSOs and other accountability systems.
“Instructively, these illegal diversions took place when the government was engaged in massive vote-buying to win the 2020 elections; it was also the period COVID-19 had peaked and placed enormous pressure on our health delivery as many Ghanaians died, and yet President Akufo-Addo claimed he couldn’t find the resources to fulfil his Agenda 111 pledge of building new hospitals,” he stated.