Member of Parliament for North Tongue, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has challenged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the government to immediately abrogate all contracts on the National Cathedral.
Work at the project site, he said, has been abandoned since March 14, 2022. However, the contractors still hold valid contracts meaning the Ghanaian taxpayer is compelled to pay the contractors even where there are no works currently ongoing.
He stated that Ghanaians would be compelled to pay more than US$1 billion dollars if the current development is allowed to continue and with the contractors still in possession of valid contracts.
Okudzeto Ablakwa made the call on 14th March 2023 during an interview in Parliament ‘on the anniversary of the abandonment of the project’ by the main contractor Ribade Company Limited.
“Today is the first anniversary since the project stalled. What we’re worried about is that a year is enough time for President Akufo-Addo who has declared this project his priority of priorities and those remaining on the National Cathedral Board of Trustees, one year is enough time for them to come to the realization that this project remains a castle in the air, a pipe dream and an unfeasible project considering our economic circumstances.”
“It is time to close shop. It is time to totally abandon this project because it cannot be completed as scheduled.”
He disclosed the Minority has sighted the contract on the project and as long as it remains suspended and the clock continues to tick, the already suffocating taxpayer will continue to be burdened with more costs.
The contract, he said, clearly states the government will have obligations when there are standing time claims from the main contractor and when there is an abortive and rework costs due to contract suspension.
According to him, one year is enough for the government to realize the project could cost the Ghanaian taxpayer over US$1 billion.
He said, “Forget all those figures you have heard in times past, US$400 or $350 million because those figures do not include exclusion clauses in the agreement.”
“The period of this project clearly has to be extended and it comes at extra cost among many other exclusion clauses.”
The North Tongue legislator pointed out that beyond these costs, so many demolitions have taken place that the state will have to spend money to replace that include the Scholarship Secretariat, the Passport Office, the Judicial Training Institute, which the Chief Justice has put together a proposal of $50 million to replace it, judges bungalows and the Malian Ambassador’s residence.
He disclosed the Malians are already at the High Court demanding a judgment debt over GH¢200 million for the demolition of the property.
According to him, the cost of the compensation and replacement for these seven major demolitions and the cost of the architects could be more than a billion dollars even without the value of the land being added.
Mr. Ablakwa stressed that the President and the Board of Trustees should cut the losses to the state, abrogate the contract and close shop, and ask the contractors to go, especially at this time.
He averred that at a time when the state has defaulted on her loan payments, failed to meet obligations owed to creditors, officially declared bankruptcy, and is unable to procure childhood vaccines, there is no justification for the continuance of the National Cathedral.