Ghana: Opposition MPs ‘commission’ unfinished cathedral project, demand accountability for $58mln expenditure


Opposition lawmakers in Ghana visited the premises earmarked for a national cathedral to officially commission the unfinished project, underscoring what they perceive as the government’s shortcomings in executing the controversial initiative.

During a press briefing on Wednesday (6 March) the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, alongside his colleagues, called upon the government to provide a transparent account of the project, citing its incomplete status despite assurances from the then Finance Minister in 2021.

Ablakwa labelled the National Cathedral project as the “most expensive pit in the world” and demanded accountability for the $58,141,509.52 spent, questioning why contractors abandoned the project due to lack of payment two years ago.

Expressing concerns about the escalating costs associated with the project’s suspension, Ablakwa urged the immediate termination of the contract. He highlighted additional financial burdens, such as extension fees, standing time costs, and abortive and real work expenses due to the main contractor’s suspension.

The MPs also called for the dissolution of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral and the immediate closure of the National Cathedral Secretariat, which they deemed an “expensive secretariat” having received GHS225,962,500.

“We have to pay, there is a cost to this abandonment. We have to pay for the extension of time, we have to pay for standing time, and we also have to pay for abortive and real work costs due to the main contractor suspension,” he said.

The National Cathedral project, initiated by the government, has been a source of debate and controversy, primarily due to its cost and utilization of state resources. Despite the Finance Minister’s announcement in July 2021 that the project would be commissioned on March 6, 2024, progress has been minimal.

Among other things, the MPs also demanded that “the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral should be dissolved without delay. We also demand that the National Cathedral Secretariat should be immediately closed. So far, this secretariat has received a staggering GHS225,962,500 it is a very expensive secretariat.”

In December 2023, the then Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, suggested reevaluating discussions on the National Cathedral’s construction, emphasizing its potential to stimulate economic growth.

Speaking at the Ghana Tourism Investment Summit, Ofori-Atta highlighted the cathedral’s role in attracting Christian pilgrims, potentially boosting tourism and bringing economic benefits to Ghana.

Ofori-Atta urged for a constructive approach to the ongoing debates and controversies, emphasizing the economic potential of the National Cathedral for Ghana’s development.


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