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General News of Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

How Sir David Adjaye landed National Cathedral job – Dag Heward-Mills details

Bishop Dag Heward Mills, the founder, and leader of the Lighthouse Chapel International

Bishop Dag Heward Mills, the founder and leader of the Lighthouse Chapel International who resigned as a member of the trustees of the National Cathedral expressed disquiet about certain developments concerning the construction of the facility before bowing out in August 2022.

Among his reasons was the perception that some key decisions concerning the project were taken by persons or groups other than the trustees.

Dag Heward-Mills said in his letter that he was uncomfortable that whereas the trustees existed and were known by the public, almost all decisive moves were made by the government and not the clergymen.

One of such decisions is the engagement of Sir David Adjaye as the architect for the National Cathedral project.

In a letter written to the Executive Director of the Board of Trustees which has been published by Citi FM, Dag Heward-Mills said he once quizzed Sir David Adjaye on how he landed the role as the lead architect for the project.

As it turned out, Sir David Adjaye was engaged by the government on the blindside of the Board of Trustees.

“It must be noted that we as trustees did not appoint the world class architect nor did we come up with the Cathedral project costing $350m. I believe such cost will be determined by a quantity surveyor and we’ve not had any interactions with the quantity surveyor.

“The church in Ghana does not have such resources and the church in Ghana knows this. A purely governmental council for the National Cathedral will be also be helpful. As at now, it is clear that the government is actually taking huge decisions concerning the National Cathedral and not the trustees. It will be good for us to have a governmental council whose identity will be known to all and answer questions on behalf of the government.

“It may be recalled that I asked Sir David Adjaye at a trustees meeting whether he had received a contract from the government to build the National Cathedral. I asked him if he had received a contract in the same way that someone will receive a governmental contract to build a dam or a bridge. He answered that indeed he had such a contract with the government of Ghana. He answered that he had a contract to build the National Cathedral from the government.

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“Clearly, this is not a contract from the trustees. We the trustees did not give him a contract and will be unable to explain issues to do with the payment of monies to the cathedral,” he indicated in the letter published by Citi FM.

Dag Heward-Mills was also concerned that the work done by the contractors did not match the progress of work.

“I am a firm believer in the president’s vision. I believe that the public can see and is questioning the fact that we have spent almost six years since the sod-cutting of this project as well as over $30m (thirty million dollars) of public funds, to excavate a massive pit in the centre of the city.

“I do believe that many of the questions that are being asked and hurled at the National Cathedral Project are reasonable and legitimate questions by objective citizens who just want answers to their questions,” parts of the letter read as quoted by citinewsroom.com.

The pastor also raised some concerns about payments made to stakeholders involved in the cathedral project.

“Continuing to pay contractors $40,000 (forty thousand dollars) a month as we wait to procure a huge loan in this hostile atmosphere sounds dicey to me. I do believe that almost six years down the line, we need to look at a different approach to achieve our goal of building God’s house in Ghana,” he said.