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Dag Heward-Mills walks away over unseen hands controlling Cathedral cash

What is believed to be the resignation letter authored by a member of the Board of Trustees supposedly supervising the construction of Ghana’s National Cathedral has thickened  perceptions of a  bankruptcy of transparency in the funding of what has become the most controversial project in the country.

The said former Trustee, the highly-respected Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, founder of the United Denominations originating from the Lighthouse Group of Churches, cited some instances in which he alleged that unseen hands by undisclosed persons have taken major financial decisions regarding the funding of the construction of the Cathedral and made it seem as though those critical financial decisions involving figures in the range of millions of Dollars were taken by the Board of Trustees.

Bishop Dag, in the letter, said though he firmly believes in the vision of President Akufo-Addo to construct a National Cathedral for Ghana, the final amount at which the Cathedral was being constructed could have been cheaper and it made no sense to him why a loan was being taken for the construction of the project when that situation could have been avoided.

He said the fundraising strategy for the project was defective and in some instances, some of the fund-raising events have cost more than the amounts raised yet the defective strategy would not be changed.

Bishop Dag said for sex years, all attempts and efforts by him to get answers to these challenges have not yielded any fruitful result as none of his letters to the Board has been responded to and in many instances; his concerns have been treated with open disdain.

A portion of the letter addressed to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees read:

“I am unaware and not involved in the cost of making the model of the Cathedral and the many other costs that were initially paid out before the architect was fully engaged. I am unaware and not involved in the payment of the monies paid out to fund the architects’ travels and meetings.

“I am unaware and not involved in the decision that trustees are said to have taken, to request the government to assist the trustees to take a loan to build the Cathedral, as I was told at our last meeting of 8th August 2022. This purported request for the government to secure a loan for the trustees is disturbing. How is it possible that Trustees would seek a loan for an amount of money when they do not know how the bill was created? I have never participated in any decision to take a loan to build the Cathedral, and I am unaware that we the trustees are said to have asked the Government to help us take a loan to build the Cathedral. In fact, I do not believe that anyone should take a loan to build the National Cathedral. I know the Cathedral can be built without a loan and I would never support the taking of loans or raising of bonds to build this Cathedral. It is unfortunate that huge deals are negotiated with foreign companies for over US$400 million and then ascribed to Trustees when the Trustees had nothing to do with it.

“ These decisions – and many others with significant financial consequences – are taken at other meetings, by persons or bodies unknown to me and to the Trustees. Those that take these decisions must be openly known and openly take the responsibility for their decisions.

“ We have never met the President as trustees to speak to him about our concerns (including my letters) for the project, including many of the concerns I raised in my letters. The only time we met him was when our chairman, Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah was introduced to us.

“ I believe that the President has not been made duly aware of many important details of this project. I believe that if the Chairman as well as the Board of Trustees were to meet the President, we would be able to inform him about many important facts concerning the Cathedral.

“ I believe the President entrusted this project into our hands so that we make reasonable inputs and help him to achieve his vision. As we speak, the National Cathedral project has become the subject of ridicule on many of the very issues I brought up in my letters.”

It said “The decision to get a quantity surveyor to cost this project was not taken by the trustees. I know of David Adjaye as the architect, but I do not know of any independent quantity surveyor who costed the design of the architect. The cost of the project is determined by the quantity surveyor whose work would then be challenged or accepted by the client and lead to some modifications of the design. I do not know of any consultant quantity surveyor ever presenting the costs of the design given by Mr. David Adjaye for analysis.

“To my knowledge, no quantity surveyor has priced this project and presented it to trustees for approval or vetting”

The letter was dated August 14, 2022.

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