A member of the National Cathedral Board of Trustees, Rev. Joyce Aryee, says the trustees are not privy to the total seed money government is committing to the project.
“I’m still looking for it, I think that’s the question we need to go and ask–Since the state said it will give us seed money, what percentage is it giving? …No, we were not told, we were just told seed money, and we have relied on the seed money the government will find from time to time. We have not been told the exact amount the seed money is,” she told Umaru Sanda Amadu in an interview on Eyewitness News on Thursday.
When asked how the board of trustees was operating without the knowledge of the government’s commitment, she noted that in such instances, they assume that they are supposed to raise the total budget and consider “the other one [government’s seed money] as a gift. It will be wonderful when the other person [government] brings his gift, otherwise, I’m building [the project without it]”.
She stated that the Articles of Incorporation make the board of trustees the project owners.
“Actually the Articles of Incorporation make us the project owners [board of trustees]. It will be a national monument,” she stressed. The member of the National Cathedral Board of Trustees stated that they were assigned to raise funds while the government will also support them with other stuff.
“The project was never meant to be fully financed by the state and when we were called, that is what we were told. The state will do certain things and we the members of the board were to make sure that we raise the money to build the Cathedral. It was never meant to be fully financed by the state,” Rev. Joyce Aryee clarified.
She stated that the board members were not building blindly because the seed money is not the whole money for the construction of the National Cathedral. “We are not building blindly because the seed money is not the entire money for the project,” She underscored.
The National Cathedral has always been in the news for the wrong reasons with the recent one being a GH¢2.6 million scandal currently being probed by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
Background of National Cathedral
The National Cathedral is a promise President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made to God ahead of the 2016 general elections. Nana Akufo-Addo said he promised to build a national cathedral for God if he became president and pushed for the project after he was sworn into office in 2017. He described the project as a “priority among priorities” but however said it will be funded by the Christian community.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in 2018 explained that: “The state is facilitating this process by providing the land, the Secretariat, and seed money for the preparatory phase. This National Cathedral partnership framework operationalizes, and indeed is a practical expression of the social partnership envisaged to foster participatory development of the country as our collective goal.”
Although the initial budget was pegged at $100 million, the amount has over the years ballooned to almost $400 million.
Gov’t releases GH¢25m seed money
Government in June 2022 granted the release of GH¢25 million to the National Cathedral Secretariat as additional seed money for the construction of the project. A letter, signed by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to the Controller and Accountant’s General, directed that the money be credited to Ribade Limited, for part payment of outstanding claims.
“Authority is hereby granted to you to release the sum [of] GH¢25, 000,000.00 as additional seed money to the National Cathedral Secretariat for the construction of the National Cathedral for part payment of outstanding claims from RIBADE Limited,” the letter added.
The government has also released several amounts of money towards the project which is currently at the ground level.
By: Leticia Osei