US$100M for National Cathedral: Gov’t Will Build It – Deputy AG

Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Joseph Kpemka, has nailed the National Cathedral debate to the stake when he proclaimed construction would go ahead regardless of all protests.
“Let me state without equivocation that the Cathedral will be built by the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” he declared.
The Deputy Attorney General was contributing to debate on the 2019 Budget on Tuesday 28th November, 2018, noted that government will go on with the construction for posterity to judge.
According to him, 20 years in the future, all the skeptics would look back with a change of heart that the church has served its purpose.
Hon. Kpemka’s pronouncement was in response to MP for Bolgatanga East, Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, who disclosed a research he conducted indicates government has committed US$100 million dollars for the construction of the National Cathedral.
Dr. Ayine, a former Deputy Attorney General under the Mahama administration, pointed out that the Minister for Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori Atta, had indicated in the 2019 Budget Speech the state is facilitating the construction of the National Cathedral by providing land, secretariat and seed money.
The Minister’s speech, he said, has however not been captured in the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government for 2019.
He said, “In the 2019 Budget itself there is no statement related to the construction of a national cathedral by the Minister for Finance and there is no request for Parliament to approve any estimates for it.”
He cautioned the Minister of Finance not to purport to make funds available on behalf of the representatives of the people in Parliament for the construction of a cathedral without first seeking their approval.
According to him, this would be against the grain of Article 174 of the 1992 Constitution and stated, “Any money allocated for the construction would be unconstitutional.”
Dr. Dominic Ayine indicated that accountability requires probity and moral aptitude on the person doing the accounting, which also requires clarity and specificity and noted that the Finance Minister’s words as captured in paragraph 153 of the 2019 Budget Speech about the National Cathedral fall under these elements.
These, he said, pose critical issues of accountability because Mr. Ofori Atta did not only fail to state it in the financial policy of the government but he also failed in the budget speech to state the value of the land being provided, the cost of the secretariat and the amount of the seed money that has been committed.
He questioned why US$100 million dollars would be dedicated to construct a church in a country that is unable to feed hungry members of its society.
He queried, “What are we going to do with a 100-million-dollar cathedral when we cannot cloth the poor among us?”
“What are we going to do with a 100-million-dollar cathedral when we can’t provide shelter to the homeless?”
“What are we going to do with a 100-million-dollar cathedral when we don’t have good roads or hospitals for the sick?”
“And what are we going to do with a 100-million-dollar cathedral when Ghanaian children still sit on the bare floor and under trees to learn.”
Dr. Ayine argued that a National Cathedral is not a priority but stressed if Mr. Ken Ofori Atta wishes to make it one and make allocations for the construction he should come to Parliament and seek approval of how he is going to utilize the money.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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