North Tongu Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has slammed the government on its handling of the National Cathedral and the monies allocated to it.
The MP, after the budget presentation, stated that although the Minister had earlier said the allocation of monies was done through the contingency, they have captured it in the 2023 budget and seeking approval for spending.
When Ken Ofori-Atta appeared before the Ad-hoc committee investigating the motion of censure against him, he said he insisted that he breached no law in releasing funds for the National Cathedral project.
The Minority in Parliament had accused Ofori-Atta of “unconstitutional withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund in blatant contravention of Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution, supposedly for the construction of the President’s Cathedral,” thus demanding his removal from office.
Ofori-Atta however denied the accusations when he appeared before the ad-hoc committee on Friday and insisted he did no wrong.
“It appears the proponents have confused the Contingency Fund with the Contingency Vote. Let me explain. There is a difference between Contingency Fund and Contingency Vote. The Contingency Fund, the Proponents refer to, is what is covered under the Constitution, specifically under article 177. This constitutes money voted by Parliament, and advances from this must be authorised by the Parliamentary Finance Committee. The Contingency Vote, on the other hand, is a line under the “Other Government Obligations” vote which is approved by the Finance Committee and passed as part of the annual Appropriation Acts passed by Parliament.”
“In preparing the Annual Budget, provisions are made in the contingency vote to cater for such expenditures. As a Finance Minister, I am fully aware of the approval of the procedures for use of the Contingency Fund and have not breached its requirements,” he added.
However, the Minister stated in his budget presentation that the government would seek approval for budget spending.
In response to the issue, Mr. Ablakwa stated that the government had been lawless and had spread lies about the cathedral.
”After all the lawlessness, deception, falsehood, illogicality and dishonesty about the National Cathedral being a Contingency Project; the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/Ofori-Atta government has finally been forced to do what is right by capturing a specific allocation of GHS80million at page 195 in the 2023 Budget for parliamentary approval.
The truth shall always stand.
God’s Temple cannot be built on a sinful foundation of dishonesty.”