Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Martin Kpebu says it is wrong for government to establish the National Cathedral Project as a guaranteed company through the Museums and Monuments Board.

According to him, the project should have been registered through the Finance Ministry with the Finance Minister in charge of managing the asset.

This, he says, is what the constitution dictates in the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).

“When you look at the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) one of the responsibilities of the Minister of Finance is to manage government assets, government properties – that is under Section 4 of the Act 921,” he said on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday.

He stated that in the instance where the Finance Minister decides to delegate the project to someone else, the project should have still remained within the care of a high ranking public official within the Finance Ministry and not the Museums and Monuments Board.

“Of course we know that the Finance Minister cannot be everywhere – so the point is that if the Finance Minister is not in charge of the Cathedral, under Subsection 2 of Section 5 of the powers of the Minister, he can delegate to somebody in the Ministry.

“So I don’t get it that they say they established the Cathedral project as a guaranteed company through the Museums and Monuments Board. No! The law is clear that if it is government property, it’s in the charge of the Finance Minister and of course we know that the Finance Minister is one person so he can delegate.

“But it says that (the Subsection 2 of section 5) ‘The Minister may delegate any of the responsibilities under Subsection 1 to the Chief Director or to a Senior Public Officer  not below the rank of a Director within the Ministry, but shall not be relieved of the ultimate responsibility of the performance of the delegated responsibility’,” he said.

Martin Kpebu further stated that taking into consideration the financial sinkhole the project is gradually becoming, it would have been more prudent for the government to have placed it in the care of the Finance Ministry rather than the Museums and Monuments Board.

“You see, so in all the things that he does to the extent that under Section 4 he’s to manage government properties, I don’t see how the Museums and Monuments Board will be left to handle this alone. No.

“And then also the issues of the public-private law, the PPA Act – so it tells you that look the Trustees need to come back again and explain further because this cannot be left with the Museums and Monuments Board because we are sinking in so much money,” he said.