MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa Criticizes National Cathedral Project as Corrupt

Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Abena Osei Asare, recently confirmed the release of the funds, stating that the ministry committed the amount to ensure the project had necessary funding. She also mentioned that audits by institutions, including Deloitte Ghana, indicated value for money.

However, in an interview on JoyFM’s Newsnight, Mr. Ablakwa criticized the project for its lack of accountability and significant progress despite the substantial investment.

“The National Cathedral project continues to be very hazy, sleazy and totally corrupt. A project with massive diversions and lack of accountability in a very grave manner,” he said.

Mr. Ablakwa highlighted that during parliamentary proceedings, the Minister of State could not confirm whether the project had undergone the required procurement process before the GH¢339 million was released. He also disputed the minister’s claims of value for money, suggesting her statements contradicted former Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta’s assertion that no budget allocation was made for the project, and the funds were taken from the contingency vault.

In November 2022, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta denied claims that money was taken from the Consolidated Fund to finance the National Cathedral project. He responded to the Minority’s allegations that GH₵25 million was released to the National Cathedral Secretariat without Parliament’s approval.

Mr. Ofori-Atta clarified that he had not breached any laws concerning payments for the project, explaining the difference between the Contingency Fund and the Contingency Vault. He emphasized that the funds used were from the Contingency Vault, which is a line under the government obligation vault approved by the Finance Committee and passed as part of the annual Appropriation Act.

Despite these clarifications, Mr. Ablakwa remains critical of the project, questioning the shifting narratives and demanding greater transparency and accountability from the government.

“The staff and union’s decision to petition your high office for the removal of Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah is grounded on unfair labour practices contrary to the labour laws and Human Resource Manual and Policy Framework for Ghana Public Services, violations of SSNIT law, poor corporate governance structure, selective and administrative injustice in the recruitment, placement and promotion of staff, and lack of innovative ideas to manage the administration of the authority,” the petition states.

The staff expressed concerns that Prof. Attafuah’s continued tenure could result in further harm and reputational damage.

“His staff have absolutely lost trust in his administration and can no longer work with him in confidence. These, coupled with infractions in the labour laws and SSNIT Acts, are enough justifications for his immediate removal from office without further delays,” the petition adds.

They believe that dismissing the Executive Secretary would restore staff confidence and enhance the Authority’s reputation.

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