The National Cathedral Project has been one of the controversial public issues, since the project was first announced by President Akufo-Addo.
Apart from the questions of accountability which have been repeatedly raised by the Minority in Parliament, there have also been concerns about the relevance of the project, in the face of the country’s economic crisis.
Amidst the plethora of issues, founder of the LightHouse Chapel International, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, resigned from the Cathedral’s Board of Trustee in August 2022.
In so doing, the preacher did not assign any specific reason for his departure; leaving the public to rely on their own conjectures and speculations about why the celebrated man of God left the scene.
However, after about five months down the line, the Bishop’s justifications for exiting the Board have been revealed.
In a letter available to Accra-based Citi TV, the seasoned Bible teacher noted that his unresolved concerns about the cost of the National Cathedral and other pertinent issues triggered his exit.
The said letter, which appears to be a leaked document was addressed by the Bishop to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral.
“I feel that the treatment of the issues I have raised in my several letters has been unfortunate. My letters have been ignored in the past; not attended to for years, and at best addressed flippantly”, Dag Heward-Mills said.
“You may recall I have spoken passionately and written extensively about the costs, the design, the location, the fundraising, the mobilization of the churches, and the role of the trustees.
“These, if heeded, would have made our project more achievable. Generally speaking, my inputs, my opinions, and my letters have been trivialized and set aside”, portions of the letter further disclosed.
According to the Bishop,his decision to resign was also due to the fact that his role as a member of the Board of Trustees was not formalised.
In his resignation letter, he explained that after six years of being appointed to the Board, his name was not formally recognised as a Director of the National Cathedral.
Bishop said even if the exclusion of his name were an administrative error, it could have been corrected during his six year stay on the Board.
This he perceived was not ab error, hence his resignation.
“I do not believe this is an oversight but a deliberate exclusion from the Board. Six years is a long time to correct this failure to register me if it was indeed an administrative lapse.
“l have therefore accepted for some time now that I am not a trustee of the National Cathedral, but I have still sought to help with the Cathedral because I believe in the President’s vision and I do not have to be a legally registered trustee to do so”, Dag Heward-Mills explained.
He continued, “I refer to myself in this letter as a trustee because even though l am not privy to most of the weighty decisions of the Board I am referred to as such”.
In the said resignation letter, the preacher again expressed concerns about his role as a member of the Board, and how some unseen hands were rather controlling affairs.
In this regard, he noted that the sensitive issues of the Cathedral appeared to have been discussed outside of his knowledge, despite his availability.
“I have been a reachable and available trustee and attended every single meeting of trustees since the pandemic began, in person and by zoom, and the records will show that.
“If I say that I, as a trustee, do not know many of the financial and technical issues concerning the Cathedral, it means the discussions about the National Cathedral were held by some people outside the trustees’ meeting or perhaps in a forum that I was not present or invited to”.
He continued to lament that, “the National Cathedral is said to be a Government of Ghana project, with the government taking financial decisions.
“Yet on another hand, at meetings, it is implied that the trustees have taken or participated in taking some decisions”.
Despite the above reasons, Dag Heward-Mills stated in his resignation letter that he is still committed to the National Cathedral and would be available to help once his concerns are addressed.
“I would like to state clearly that if in the future, there is more clarity to my role and function in the building of the Cathedral, I remain open, available and willing to serve at the pleasure of the President and the nation.
Regardless of your response to my resignation and inputs, I remain a supporter of the National Cathedral project and will endeavour to be present to rejoice with the nation when this project is completed” his letter to Chairman of the Board of Trustees concluded.
The details of Dag Heward-Mills’ resignation letter comes at a time when the tensions surrounding the project have been intensified.
This includes accusations from North Tongu MP, Samuel Ablakwa that the Secretary of the Board of Trustees, Rev Victor Kusi Boateng used an alias to illegally receive money from the National Cathedral Secretariat.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the MP alleged that Mr Kusi Boateng disguised his identity as ‘Kwabena Adu Gyamfi’; a name he used in registering a company (JNS Talent Centre Limited), which received payments from the National Cathedral Secretariat.
In his view, this amounts to a conflict of interest, hence the need for the preacher to resign to pave the way for investigations into what he says is a fraudulent act.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no distinct Kwabena Adu Gyamfi. Kwabena Adu Gyamfi is a criminal creation of Rev. Victor Kusi-Boateng. The two are therefore one and the same.
“Rev. Victor Kusi-Boateng AKA Kwabena Adu Gyamfi thought he had outwitted every Ghanaian, particularly our authorities whom he dribbled for many years; but the day of reckoning is finally here.
“From unassailable and irreproachable documents in my possession, Rev. Victor Kusi-Boateng AKA Kwabena Adu Gyamfi uses multiple passports and multiple identification cards with different names and different dates of birth as his special modus operandi”, Mr Ablakwa alleged.
Meanwhile, public debates about the relevance of the National Cathedral project continue to linger.
According to the project’s critics, even though they recognise the need to honour God, the timing of the project is not prudent.
In their view, given the prevailing economic crisis in the country, it is needless for government to focus on such a project in the face of the glaring hardship and the depleting macroeconomic variables.
The critics have further argued that the project is a personal campaign promise of President Akufo-Addo and therefore state resources should be allocated to its execution.
Meanwhile, proponents of the project, including Victor Kusi Boateng, have maintained that the Cathedral will benefit the country in many useful ways.
In multiple justifications for the project, the advocates of the Cathedral have stated that when completed, it will serve as a tourist destination to help generate revenue for the country.
This they say is one of the reasons why the novel project must not be stifled with opposition and ridicule.