The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame, has rebutted claims that he engaged in unethical conduct during the preliminary stages of the National Cathedral project.
Mr Godfred Dame has been accused of being involved in “conflict of interest” by the North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
Mr Ablakwa in a Twitter post on June 21, alleged that Godfred Dame during the period he was Deputy Attorney General, saw to the approval of a sole sourcing contract to Sir David Adjaye & Associates while he served on the board of the Public Procurement Authority and was Secretary of the National Cathedral Company Limited, when it was incorporated on July 18, 2019.
“It is quite revealing to observe that when the National Cathedral was incorporated on 18th July 2019; the then Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, was registered as Secretary.
“During the same period, he served on the board of the Public Procurement Authority, which approved David Adjaye’s irregular sole sourcing contract. A clear conflict of interest situation, particularly from additional evidence available to us.
“This has fast become the world’s most infamous cathedral project,” he wrote.
But Mr Godfred Dame says Mr Ablakwa’s claims are utterly false.
In a press statement sighted by the Independent Ghana, the Attorney General indicated that he could not have engaged in a conflict of interest as the incorporation of the National Cathedral and the approval of an application to single-source did not take place in the same year.
He revealed the approval of an application to single-source Messrs. Sir David Adjaye & Associates was granted by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) on 13th December 2018, while the National Cathedral of Ghana was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (non-profit-making entity) on 18th July 2019.
“Quite clearly, at the time of the approval by PPA (on whose governing board I served in my former capacity as Deputy Attorney-General), no company known as the National Cathedral of Ghana had been formed for me to be Secretary of, or have any purported interest in to declare. I could not have had a so-called interest in a non-existent company.
“If Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa had cared to read or examine the relevant documents well, as he should have, this plain fact would not have been lost on him,” parts of the statement read.
According to Godfred Dame, his status as Secretary to the company at incorporation was solely on account of his position as Deputy Attorney-General.
During the period he served as Secretary to the company, Godfred Dame said he never received any emolument for his service rendered.
He revealed that his action was in pursuant to Article 80(3) of the Constitution, which prohibits a Minister of State from holding any other office of profit or emolument, whether private or public unless with the permission of the Speaker.
In view of the clarification, the Attorney-General has called on Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to retract his allegations which are “malevolent and ill-inspired” and render an apology to the public.
Failure to do so, the North Tongu MP risks being dragged to court.
Meanwhile, Godfred Dame says he currently does not form part of the registered directors or members of the National Cathedral.
National Cathedral brouhaha
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has accused the government of engaging in several illegalities.
They include the use of state funds to fund the construction of the National Cathedral, although the project is private-owned, and the misreport age on who constitutes the Board of Trustees and Directors.
Mr Ablakwa earlier alleged that founder of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Dr Mensa Otabil, resigned from the Board of Trustees due to ongoing illegalities.
But his claims have been disputed by the Executive Director of the National Cathedral, Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah.
Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah has noted that the National Cathedral is a state-owned non-profit making organization and not a private project.
He added that the cathedral is a company limited by guarantee with its sole corporate member being the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.
With regards to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director stated that Dr Otabil has not been a member of the Board of Trustees since July, 2019, as he excused himself at the point of registration of the Directors.
Source: The Independent Ghana