Home / Business / National Cathedral: ‘Is $58m put in a big hole not causing financial loss to the state?’ – Jantuah quizzes A-G

National Cathedral: ‘Is $58m put in a big hole not causing financial loss to the state?’ – Jantuah quizzes A-G

Kwame Jantuah, a member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and a private legal practitioner, has expressed discontent about the selective application of the prosecutorial powers of the Attorney-General on issues of public officials causing financial loss to the state, citing the botched national cathedral project.

Lawyer Jantuah questioned the lack of interest on the part of both the Attorney-General and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to prosecute handlers of the national cathedral project, which has since sunk about US$58 million.

During Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary celebrations, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the national cathedral project.

This initiative stemmed from a personal commitment candidate Akufo-Addo made to God during his 2016 presidential election campaign—to construct a national cathedral if elected.

Seven years on, Ghana’s taxpayers have expended $58 million on the project, which, as of April 2024, has not progressed as the government had hoped.

An estimated $450 million is needed to complete the project and it is not clear if that amount is yet available to complete the construction.

Moreover, by mid-2022, various church denominations had contributed GH¢2.21 million ($148,000) towards the construction of the national cathedral.

This is a large sum but not sufficient on its own to pay the remaining costs of construction.

Mr Jantuah could not hide his frustration about the amount spent on the project yet no significant work has been done on site.

He was reacting to the developments from the court as regards the trial of Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson and businessman Richard Jakpa for causing financial loss to the state in the purchase of “unfit” ambulances for the country.

The two are facing trial for allegedly causing a €2.37 million financial loss to the state over the ambulance deal.

He wondered why the A-G Godfred Dame has refused to take on persons involved in the payments made on the national cathedral project.

He said, “… National cathedral, how much money has been sunk into it? We are saying that the ambulances didn’t meet the standards. Have we seen a block when the national cathedral is concerned?”

“How much money have been sunk in there and the NPP people will tell you it went to parliament… have you seen a block? Hasn’t the taxpayers’ money been put in a big hole; how much money is that? 58 million US dollars. Is that not causing financial loss to the state? Should that not attract the Special Prosecutor and the Attorney-General to take it up? If causing financial loss to the state is what we are doing with this case.

“Is there no financial loss in that case?” he quizzed.

Trial judge advises A-G to stay away from ambulance case

Meanwhile, Mr Jantuah underscored that the advice from the trial judge, Justice Efia Serwah Asare-Botwey to the Attorney-General to recuse himself from the ongoing case in the interest of justice and the public suggests wrongdoing on the part of Mr Dame.

He argued that “for me, he [Godfred Dame] has already been found guilty by the judge’s comments.”

Additionally, Mr Jantuah expressed concerns about the fact that the Attorney-General and the justices of the Supreme Court are “in the face of the public”, emphasising the difficulty for the public to become familiar with the justices of the apex court in other jurisdictions such as the US or the UK.

3 news.com

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