National Cathedral project: Abrogate contract —Ablakwa

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The Minority Caucus in Parliament has urged the government to abrogate immediately the National Cathedral project to stop the project from imposing more financial burden on the Ghanaian taxpayer.

It said March 14, 2023, marked exactly a year when the main contractor working on the project abandoned the site and thus steps must be taken to mitigate the escalating cost.

It added that as long as the contractors-RIBADE Construction Limited and David Adjaye and Association– continued to hold valid contracts, the project would still impose an extra cost burden on the Ghanaian taxpayer.

“One year is enough for the Akufo-Addo government to terminate this contract, which per our analysis, will cost the Ghanaian taxpayer over $1 billion,” it stated.

Pipe dream

Addressing the press in Parliament yesterday, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongue, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said: “The project remains a pipe dream, an unfeasible particularly considering our economic situation and it is time to totally abandon the project because it cannot be completed as scheduled.”

“The contractors have stated in the termination letters the lack of payment from the Government of Ghana as the reason they could no longer continue the project and it is time for President Akufo-Addo and those remaining on the National Cathedral Board of Trustee to come to the realisation that this project remains as a castle in the air,” he said.

Project contract

Mr Ablakwa said what was even more worrying was that the Minority Caucus had cited the contract agreement between the Government of Ghana, the National Cathedral of Ghana and the main contractors.

He said the agreement showed the contractors still held valid contract documents that indicated in spite of the project remained being suspended, it still imposed financial costs on “the already suffocating taxpayer.”

“That is why we are saying on the first anniversary of the contractors abandoning the site, we demand that the government abrogate the contract with RIBADE and David Adjaye and Association,” he said.

Project composition

Mr Ablakwa indicated that Ghanaians must be mindful that the cathedral project would cost over $1 billion.

Forget about earlier costs of $400 million and $350 million because those figures do not include the exclusion clauses in the agreement such as the abortive and reworks cost, the standing time’s claims, professional fees, savings on import duties, escalation of construction due to COVID-19 and global inflation, an extension of time claims and cost implications,” he explained.

He also added that the seven major structures that were demolished to make way for the construction of the cathedral would have to be replaced at another cost to the Ghanaian taxpayer.

He named those structures as the Scholarship Secretariat, the Passport Office, judges’ bungalows, the Malian Ambassador’s residence, the Judicial Training Institute, which the Chief Justice had put a proposal of $50 million to replace and two private property owners-COMSIS IT firm and Waters Stone Realty.

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