Thursday, 18 April

Nat'l Cathedral: People power has triggered positive actions from the Board of Trustees – Ablakwa

General News
Mr Ablakwa’s comments follow the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral’s announcement that it is liaising with Deloitte to conduct an audit of the project

North Tongu legislator, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said the National Cathedral Project will remain suspended until the independent audits are concluded.

Mr Ablakwa’s comments follow the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral’s announcement that it is liaising with Deloitte to conduct an audit of the project. 

Welcoming the auditing of the project, Mr Ablakwa in a tweet on Wednesday, 25 January 2023 stressed the impact of the power of the citizenry in triggering the National Cathedral Board to succumb to a probe.

“The power of the people has triggered quite some positive actions from the National Cathedral Board of Trustees;

“It’s obvious the suspended project will remain suspended until independent audits and various probes are concluded;

“Glad they will fully cooperate with the CHRAJ of Trustees without further delay—this would be in his own interest, particularly, having regard for the additional exposés in the pipeline,” Mr Ablakwa tweeted.

He stressed that: “The Board of Trustees’ request for a parliamentary probe is most welcome, and I do hope Right Honourable Speaker Bagbin would approve our motion demanding an enquiry into the entire scandal-dominated cathedral project as submitted to his office last year.”

The North Tongu legislator added: “Truth, Transparency, Accountability and Justice must always prevail both in the Kingdom of Christ and in our dear Republic.”

The Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral is in talks with Deloitte to conduct a normal statutory audit of the project. 

This was announced by the Chairman of the Board, Apostle Prof Opoku Onyinah in a statement on Tuesday, 24 January 2024.

It follows a demand to that effect by preachers Nicholas Duncan-Williams and Eastwood Anaba, also trustees, who want the project suspended for independent auditing to be done.

In a memo, the two ministers said: "In the spirit and cause of transparency and accountability to the Ghanaian people, the current Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral shall appoint an independent, nationally-recognised accounting firm to audit all public funds contributed to and spent by the National Cathedral." 

"This appointment of an auditor shall take place before the deferment of activities of the Board of Trustees,” portions of the memo read.

They demanded that the "current activities advancing the construction of Ghana’s National Cathedral shall be deferred until the atmospherics in Ghana are improved and the audit of the Cathedral account is done".

The Board, in its statement, said it is “already in discussions to engage Deloitte, which accepted to be the auditors when the National Cathedral was registered, to commence the normal statutory audit.”

In addition, the Board said it “submitted all relevant documentation on the project to parliament in December 2022. Thus, if parliament so desires, it may set up a commission or appoint an independent auditor to review all issues concerning the award of contract, procurement, construction works and financial operations of the National Cathedral project so far.”  

“The Board of Trustees is also prepared to be subjected to any form of a probe by state institutions including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).”

The Board, in its statement, said it is “already in discussions to engage Deloitte, which accepted to be the auditors when the National Cathedral was registered, to commence the normal statutory audit.”

In addition, the Board said it “submitted all relevant documentation on the project to parliament in December 2022. Thus, if parliament so desires, it may set up a commission or appoint an independent auditor to review all issues concerning the award of contract, procurement, construction works and financial operations of the National Cathedral project so far.”  

“The Board of Trustees is also prepared to be subjected to any form of a probe by state institutions including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).”

The National Cathedral project has been the subject of one controversy after another.

Just recently, the secretariat jumped to the defence of one of its board members, Rev Victor Kusi Boateng, who, according to opposition lawmaker Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, had the board pay some GHS6 million to a company he owns – JNS Talent Centre Ltd, which allegedly runs a crèche in Dawhenya.

In his exposé, Mr Ablakwa said the company is owned by one Kwabena Adu Gyamfi, who, according to him – per documents available to him – is the same person as Rev Kusi-Boateng, who serves on the board of the National Cathedral as executive council member/director.

The secretariat explained in its statement: “As a normal verification – expected of a Member of Parliament – would have revealed, this was not an illegal payment but rather a refund of a short-term interest-free loan made by JNS to top up the payments to the contractors of the National Cathedral.”

“This support was sought from a National Cathedral Trustee Member, Rev Kusi Boateng, in a letter dated August 26, 2021, due to a delay in the receipt of funds to pay the Contractors on time,” the statement said.

In his exposé, Mr Ablakwa claimed that not only does Rev Kusi Boateng have a double identity, but also holds multiple passports with different dates of birth.

Mr Ablakwa, in an earlier exposé, had said the National Cathedral Secretariat had transferred a cash sum of GHS2.6 million to a company called JNS Talent Centre Limited for no work done.

The directors of the company, he said, were Johannes Eshun, Sheila Eshun and Kwabena Adu Gyamfi.

In his latest exposé posted on Facebook on Monday, 16 January 2023, the North Tongu legislator disclosed that “there is no distinct Kwabena Adu Gyamfi. Kwabena Adu Gyamfi is a criminal creation of Rev. Victor Kusi-Boateng. The two are, therefore, one and the same.”

Source: classfmonline.com