Nana Akufo-Addo’s bargain with God to build Him a cathedral if he is allowed into the Jubilee House as the President of Ghana, has so far swallowed a whopping GHC200 million of the taxpayers’ money, although nothing significant has been done on the project, aside digging of the site, the burial of a stone from Israel and casting of concrete pillars.
The latest discovery sighted by The Herald is that on October 29, 2020, few weeks to the national elections, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, acting on a request by Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, authorized the release of a gargantuan GHS142, 762, 500.00 the equivalent of US$25 million as “Seed Money for the National Cathedral of Ghana”.
The US$25 million payment preceded the GHS25 million captured in the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s letter dated March 31, 2022, with the heading “Seed Money For The Construction Of The National Cathedral” to a mysterious private company called RIBADE Limited.
Again, the US$25 million preceded the GHS 32 million of taxpayers’ money to be paid to Sir David Adjaye & Associates Limited from the Office of the President, as consultancy charges on the National Cathedral project by Sir David Adjaye who is a known friend of the Akufo-Addo family especially Gaby Asare-Otchere Darko.
Many suspect that the 29th October, 2020 money went into prosecuting an electoral agenda as the letter authorizing the payment of the colossal amount did not mention who the recipient was except to vaguely described the objective of the disbursement as “planned activities”.
The document from Mr Ofori-Atta to Controller and Accountant-General, Kwasi Kwaning Bosompem, and dated October 29, 2020 had simply said “please refer to letter number SCR/DE3296/02 dated 19th October, 2020 from the Chief of Staff, Office of the President on the above subject matter (copy attached).
Mr Ofori-Atta’s letter had instructed Mr Kwaning-Bosompem, saying “you are hereby authorized to release the sum of GHS142, 762, 500.00 (One Hundred and Forty-Two Million, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Two Thousand, Five Hundred Ghana Cedis) being the cedi equivalent of US$25,000, 000.00 (Twenty Five Million Dollars) converted at an exchange rate of GHC5.7105 to US$1.00 as seed money to the National Cathedral Secretariat to enable the commencement of “planned activities”.
The Finance Minister’s letter, had further instructed that “the expenditure of GHC GHS142, 762, 500.00 should be charged as per the attached Specific Warrant”.
That warrant also in the custody of The Herald had mentioned the recipient institution as “the Office of Government Machinery” and said that money was to be used for “Executive Support Services” under the heading “operational activity” while the transaction detail was captured as “Seed Money For The Construction Of The National Cathedral”.
The warrant had the signatures of Joseph Agyapong and Christie Amagnoh.
Also in the custody of The Herald, is Chief of Staff’s letter dated to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, saying “the attached self-explanatory letter 16th October 2020 received from the National Cathedral Secretariat in respect of the above subject refers.
“It would be appreciated if the Ministry of Finance could release an amount of Twenty-Five Million US Dollars (US$25,000,000.00) as Seed Money to the National Cathedral Secretariat to enable the commencement of planned activities”, Frema Osei-Opare’s letter said.
Meanwhile, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Tongu in the Volta region, who has been at the forefront speaking against the outrageous payments has described as “unconstitutional, payments by the Akufo-Addo government purportedly to finance a Cathedral project”.
According to him, “it is of considerable consternation to note that contrary to legal requirements, government concealed this ginormous GHS142.7million 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”, adding “this 2020 cathedral expenditure was also kept away from the Auditor-General in his 2020 audit”.
He took to Facebook with the document writing “as promised, here are more calamitous revelations on unconstitutional payments by the Akufo-Addo government purportedly to finance a Cathedral project.
“On 29th October, 2020—few weeks to the national elections, Ken Ofori-Atta, acting on a request by President Akufo-Addo’s Chief of Staff, authorized the release of a gargantuan GHS142, 762, 500.00 for national cathedral “planned activities.”
“It is of considerable consternation to note that contrary to legal requirements, government concealed this ginormous GHS142.7million 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 was also kept away from the Auditor-General in his 2020 audit.
“So far, adding this latest exposé to our previous leaks, the Akufo-Addo government has spent a mind-boggling 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.
“Unfortunately, digging into the tons of documents divinely in our possession, we regret to report to Ghanaians 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.”
“This GHS 200 million cathedral-gate has turned out to be the biggest presidential scandal in Ghana’s entire history.
“It is terribly shocking how our President and his men could engage in such ungodly, illegal and insensitive conduct. They seem to have absolutely no fear of God?
“Clearly, in the name of a cathedral project, 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 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 fulfill his Agenda 111 pledge of building new hospitals.
“I have no doubt in my mind that were Jesus Christ to return to Earth at this moment, He will pick up His whip again and visit Ghana’s cathedral construction site as He did to those who corrupted His Temple in Jerusalem.