Ghana’s National Cathedral scandal deepens: Okudzeto Ablakwa reveals identity theft in US incorporation process

MP for North Tongu and Ranking Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has released a statement revealing the second episode of the American Edition of “National” Cathedral Scandals. 

According to Mr. Ablakwa, the episode focuses on the criminal execution of the incorporation of the National Cathedral of Ghana and Bible Museum Foundation, Inc in Washington, D.C. through identity theft.

Mr. Ablakwa noted that identity theft is considered a federal crime in the United States of America and that the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (ITADA) has provisions that punish the crime. 

He added that many people have been convicted of the crime of identity theft for wrongfully acquiring another person’s Personal Identifying Information for fraud or deception for economic gain.

The MP also cited a case where a woman from Trinidad and Tobago was sentenced in Miami to a combined period of five years for her role in the submission of fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $9.2 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Mr. Ablakwa disclosed that reports of identity theft in the US in 2020 were more than triple the number from 2018, with 1,387,615 cases in 2020, 650,523 in 2019, and 444,344 in 2018. He added that the increase in cases was largely due to nefarious schemes to lay hands on the trillions of dollars the US government made available for COVID-19 relief.

Further investigations reveal that the Social Security Number used to generate the Cathedral’s Employer ID Number belongs to one Jose Salgado who died in 2014. This indicates that the Social Security Number of a deceased young male Hispanic was fraudulently used to incorporate Ghana’s national cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Vernon Darko and Eric Okyere Darko have been implicated in the scandal in a statement issued by the National Cathedral Secretariat. The statement indicates that the two alleged faceless individuals provided the needed legal documentation to enable the registration to be completed.

Mr. Ablakwa expressed his disappointment that such a gross international embarrassment could be associated with the building of the Lord’s Temple. He called on President Akufo-Addo to dissolve the Board of Trustees, close down the secretariat, abrogate the contract, and institute a national inquiry into the affair.

Mr. Ablakwa promised to be back next week with Episode 3 of the American Edition of “National” Cathedral Scandals.

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