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Religion Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Church owners should be more accountable - Palmer-Buckle

Amasaman (GAR), July 31, GNA - Religious leaders, especially founders of churches, must be more accountable to God and to their congregations in order to uphold God's integrity and Christianity, Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra Archdiocese, said on Wednesday.

"Any pastor, priest or prophet, who believes he or she has been called by God, is expected to eschew all negative behaviours which would bring God's name into disrepute. He must safeguard the integrity of God who appointed and that of His people," he said.

Speaking at a capacity building workshop organized by Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) for church leaders at Amasanam in the Ga West Municipality, Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said religious leadership was now under siege by the devil and unfortunately it was being tarnished by the uncomplimentary behaviours of some leaders. He said Christians were expected to be the mirror of God's integrity on earth and therefore all that they did should reflect His holiness.

"You are the salt of the earth and when it loses its taste, we all know it is of no value", he quoted the Bible. Archbishop Palmer-Buckle, who is also a board member of GII, said integrity was not just about honesty and moral uprightness in matters of financial, human and social considerations, but an attribute of God and a share in His holiness. On combating corruption in churches, Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Programmes Manager of GII, called for the building of capacities of church leaders as anti-corruption crusaders to help in educating members to become anti-corruption monitors.

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She also called for transparency in the award of contracts by displaying contract details on notice board and project site for scrutiny by church members and also the development of effective mechanisms to monitor revenue collection.

On institutional reforms, she noted that, regular staff and job rotation of civil or public servants would ensure efficiency and minimize corruption since "familiarity breeds contempt". Mrs Ofori-Kwafo added that improving supervisory activities and conducting regular audits, including performance audits and equity in the public and private sector compensation packages, would also help minimize corruption in the country.

Mr. Gilbert Sam, Programme Officer of GII, said low income, high cost of living, scarcity of public goods and bureaucracy were some causes of corruption.

He said corruption was not only about bribery but influence peddling, campaign contributions from corporations and "speed money" which is money paid to speed up the process of doing something for someone. He noted that although there were no comprehensive laws dealing specifically with the definition of corruption in Ghana, there had been a number of anti-corruption legislations such as the Criminal Code, Public Procurement Act, Financial Administration Act which deal with the issue. He said corruption led to slow productivity, constrained investment and retarded growth.

Source: GNA