Despite the Akufo-Addo government’s GHc200 million investment, the controversial National Cathedral project has faced financial problems, with workers at the construction site being sent home.
According to a letter from RIBADE Company Ltd, the project’s principal construction company, the project has been “pause” and 200 people have been laid off due to a shortage of finance from the government.
According to a letter circulating, the corporation asked its employees to hand over the items under their care to the Human Resources Office (HR) and leave the site immediately in March of this year.
Interestingly, those working with the government on the project, particularly the men of God, have remained deafeningly silent on the latest controversy surrounding the project, particularly reports that massive sums have been fetched from the public purse, despite the fact that the same men had previously stated that the National Cathedral would not use a penny of taxpayer money.
The clergymen have also been unable to account for donations made to the project, including GHS50,000 from the National Chief Imam, Sheik Osmanu Nunu Sharubutu, on Thursday, August 26, 2021, during a meeting with Apostle Opoku Onyinah, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral, and his Vice Chairman, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Cape Coast.
Most Rev. Bishop Justice Ofei Akrofi, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus, and Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, are also members of the Board of Trustees.
The remaining members are: the Most Rev T. K. Awotwi Pratt, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, a member, Rev Prof Cephas Omenyo, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, a member, Pastor Mensa Otabil, General Overseer of International Central Gospel Church, a member, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer of Action Chapel International, a member, Rev Dr Joyce A
Also in there are Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, Presiding Bishop, Lighthouse Group of Churches, Member, Rev Eastwood Anaba, Founder and President of Eastwood Anaba Ministries, Member, Rev Victor Kusi-Boateng Founder of Power Chapel Worldwide, Member/Secretary, Rev Dr Frimpong Manso, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, Member with one Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah as the Executive Director of the National Cathedral Secretariat inside the Jubilee House.
Pictures of the 14-acres project site near Parliament House, show lack of any activity as most holes dug there are filled with water from the recent rains in the city of Accra.
The termination letters dated March 14, 2022 read; “Due to the lack of payment from National Cathedral of Ghana which has resulted in the project being suspended, RIBADE COMPANY LTD are required under the Contract to mitigate costs”.
It explained that “in compliance with such an obligation under the Contract, RIBADE Company LTD has no option but to issue this letter of notice terminating the agreement between RIBADE COMPANY LTD and you as per the provision of your employment agreement.
“This notice of termination takes effect on the 14th of March 2022, you are therefore requested to hand in all properties (i.e. Safety equipment, etc.) belonging to the company in your possession to the HR Office by close of work of the same day.
The letter was signed by Grant Ramsay, the Project Manager of National Cathedral.
This same company had been identified as having pocketed a whopping GHc25 million the equivalent of US$3 million for the project which President Nana Akufo-Addo as well as some clergymen put in-charge of it, had said was not going to be financed from public money.
RIBADE COMPANY LTD, is a sister company of Ghanaian-Italian construction company De Simone.
The owners of the company also run Barbisotti, another construction company.
The termination letter has these two well-known companies on it alongside one other firm by name RIZZANI DE ECCHER.
RIBADE is located at Number 6 Airport Road inside the Airport Residential Area in Accra.
RIBADE is the main contractor of The National Cathedral of Ghana project as a joint between Rizzani de Eccher, M. Barbisotti & Sons Ltd, and De Simone Ltd.
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 Herald has seen some documentation saying that on October 29, 2020, few weeks before 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 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 people 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 describe 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”.
A visit to the official website of Sir David Adjaye & Associates Limited which designed the building and has remained consultants on the project since then and pocketing some colossal sums, had the company touting the benefits of the project.
The company wrote “Drawing reference from both Christian symbolism and traditional Ghanaian heritage such as the nation’s seat of power the Stool, as well as the shade of celestial authority -the Boaman ceremonial canopies and the Tabernacle. The new cathedral takes these symbols of royal and religious veneration and democratises them from the individual to the people.
It said that “Adjaye Associates’ concept for the new Ghana National Cathedral establishes a unique, 21st century landmark where religion, democracy and local tradition are seamlessly and symbolically intertwined. Conceived as a physical embodiment of unity, harmony and spirituality, the National Cathedral will be a rich, authentic celebration of Ghanaian tradition and culture and a place of inspiration, reflection and common devotion. Its form derives from traditional symbols of worship and veneration, drawing reference from both Christian symbolism and traditional Ghanaian heritage. Emblems like the nation’s seat of power ‘the Stool’, the shade of celestial authority -‘the Boaman’, ceremonial canopies, and ‘the Tabernacle’ inspire the configuration. The new cathedral takes these symbols of royal and religious veneration and democratises them from the individual to the people.
It went on to say “the cathedral will be situated within 14 acres of newly landscaped gardens adjacent to Osu Cemetery. It will house a series of impressive chapels, a baptistery, a 5000-seat two-level auditorium, a grand central hall, music school, choir rehearsal, art gallery, shop and multi-use spaces. It will also be home to Africa’s first Bible Museum and Documentation Centre, dedicated to Christianity and nation-building in Ghana. For the interiors Adjaye Associates will collaborate with some of the most celebrated and progressive Ghanaian and African artists to create the cathedral’s religious adornment and furnishings.
A new ceremonial route and landscape will be linking the Cathedral site to Ghana’s prominent, celebratory landmarks – Independence Square, Osu Cemetery, the State House and Africa Unity Circle.
Credit: The Herald