August 27, 2013

A deputy minister of Information and Media Relations has lauded the call by Presbyterian Church for government to deal firmly with “pervasive” corruption.

He however adds that churches are also corrupt and action must be taken to rid the churches of the corruption as well.

Murtala Mohammed also gave a tall list of corrupt institutions which included the media, parliament, police, politicians and churches. He suggested that this demonstrates how pervasive the problem OF corruption is across the country.

He was responding to the allegations of corruption made by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

A communiqué issued Tuesday by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is pointing to a rise in incidences of bribery and corruption, theft and embezzlement of state funds. The Moderator of the General Assembly, Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey says the situation is “pervasive and pathetic”.

He said there was “seemingly no solutions in sight” because government was not treating “corruption as the number one national enemy”.

They have also revived a scandal that hit the Savanna Acceleration Development Agency (SADA) which involved tree planting exercise in which about 33 million Ghana cedis was spent on planting trees in the Northern part of the country

The Church is challenging government to retrieve the money and punish the culprits.

In response, a deputy minister of Information and Media Relations Murtala Mohammed acknowledged the problem of corruption which governments over the years has had to grapple with.

He says the canker cannot be limited to government alone but includes the media which was cited as the third most corrupt institutions by a Transparency International report.

“I believe there are instances that Parliament is indicted…instances that the police and politicians are indicted and I believe there are instance that even religious groups embezzles funds in the churches”, he said.

The call made by [Presby Church] is the right call, he said

He pointed out that government was doing enough to deserve public commendation for fighting corruption. He said President Mahama has instructed the Attorney-General to prosecute any person found to have embezzled funds as cited by the Auditor-General’s report.

This is a first as far as the deputy minister was concerned.

He said president Mahama had set up a committee to look into the SADA scandal. The Deputy Minister said the investigations are not yet done. When it is, government would make them public, he assured.

He was “surprised” that the Presbyterian Church has not taken notice of efforts by government to fight corruption.

Whilst conceding that the church did not deliberately ignore the efforts by government, he reminded them that the President is still committed to the fight against corruption.