The Executive Director of the National Cathedral Project, Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah has said the claim made by Archbishop Duncan-Williams and Rev Eastwood Anaba that they have received no information, whatsoever, on the audit process is false.
He said international accounting and auditing firm, Deloitte, was engaged to audit the National Cathedral project.
Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah further indicated that both Archbishop Duncan-Williams and Rev Eastwood Anaba were fully aware of the engagement with Delloite even though they were absent from some meetings.
“Although Archbishop Duncan Williams and Rev Eastwood Anaba were not present at both the June 2023 and September 2023 meetings, they and all the other Board members who were not physically present at the meeting were sent copies of all the documents for the Board meeting, including the Executive Director’s report. The claim that they have received no information, whatsoever, on the audit process is therefore false.”Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah
He said that there was an emergency meeting on the matter earlier which both of them participated by Zoom Call.
In the said meeting, following the presentation of their resolution to the January 23, 2023 meeting of the Board, which the Board rejected but which still found its way to the media, – both Archbishop Duncan Williams and Rev Eastwood Anaba fully participated (by Zoom) to develop a Press release on the issue.
According to the Executive Director, the Press release included information on the audit, which was to be conducted by the international audit firm Deloitte.
He further explained that members of the board were always updated on the engagements immediately after the letter of engagement for Deloitte to officially begin the audit was drafted and signed, as well as all subsequent engagements.
“Following this, the engagement letter for Deloitte to officially begin the audit was drafted and signed by Deloitte on March 27, 2023, and set up on their system on May 17, 2023. The expectation was that the first part of the audit was to be completed in July 2023. The audit process, so far, can be confirmed with the auditors, Deloitte.
“The Board was constantly updated on the process through the Chairman and the Steering Committee, as well as the Executive Director’s reports to the meetings of the Board. For instance, the Executive Director’s report to the June 5, 2023 meeting included the following update on the audit: ‘III(3) Financial Audit: … the auditors, Deloitte, are currently in the middle of the audit and are receiving the cooperation of the Secretariat.”Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah
He also explained that as part of its update, the board was informed of why the audits had been delayed in a letter.
“Similarly, at the September 27, 2023 meeting, the Executive Director updated the Board on the audit and included the following in his written report to the Board: ‘Delayed Audit Report: The audit report by Deloitte is needed to begin the fundraising campaign. Following several delays due to documentation, it is now hoped that the audit will be completed soon to enable fundraising to restart in earnest.’
However, the Executive Director said calls for the cessation of the project until the audits were done were rejected by the board.
“It needs to be stressed that the January 23, 2023 resolution of Archbishop Duncan Williams and Rev Eastwood Anaba was rejected by the Board on two grounds. First, their call for a complete cessation of all activity on the project until an audit was done, was redundant, as the meeting already had the audit on the agenda.
“Second, and perhaps more critical, their resolution was rejected because of its linkage to the 2024 elections. As Archbishop Duncan Williams explained it, the National Cathedral has become a “trusted weapon” in the hands of the opposition, which they intend to use as part of their 2024 election strategy. Explaining that he had seen “part of the game plan”, he argued that unless the Board agrees to cease all work on the project until after the 2024 elections, the opposition will come after each of them, create divisions in the Board, and be relentless in their opposition to the project. This was rejected because of the undue politicization of the project this complete cessation would entail.”Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah
He thus concluded that “as the Secretariat of the National Cathedral Project, we are not unaware of the numerous attempts to politicize and cause disaffection for the project through fabrications and outright lies.”
He further assured that the Secretariat was “working closely with the auditors to ensure that they complete their work, which will be shared with the general public.”