Be committed to budgetary provisions to resource Special Prosecutor - Catholic Bishops

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah & Biiya Mukusah Ali, TECHIMAN
Catholic bishops at the conference with Archbishop Palmer-Buckle seated fifth from the left.
Catholic bishops at the conference with Archbishop Palmer-Buckle seated fifth from the left.

The Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference (GCBC) has asked the government to commit to provisions in the 2019 budget to fully resource the Office of the Special Prosecutor to carry out its responsibilities.

In a communique issued at the end of its Annual Plenary Assembly at Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region, the conference also called on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to demonstrate, in practical terms, his open statement of fighting corruption in the country.

The Conference also called on Ghanaians, especially people of faith to eschew attitudes, behaviours and actions that support, encourage and condone bribery and corruption.

The one-week conference, led by the President of the GCBC, Most Reverend Phillip Naameh, was on the theme, "Our call to holiness in the light of Gaudete et Exsultate".

The communique which was read by the Vice President of the GCBC, Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, commended the government for its efforts to address “the sin of bribery and corruption” in the country.

"The general situation, however, still remains undesirable and needs a more pragmatic approach to address this menace.” it stated.

The statement explained that corruption continued to permeate all sectors of the society and the attitudes and actions that breed corruption seen everywhere in the country.

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The GCBC expressed concern about the increasing filth and obscene piles of discarded plastics, electronic waste materials and other objects that choked gutters, streets and other public places.

The communique also expressed worry about the southwards expansion of desert-conditions which had been heightened by indiscriminate bush burning, wanton destruction of forests, water bodies, sale of large tracts of prime lands to commercial entities for unchecked exploitation for profits.

It observed that the situation had aggravated poverty among local people and even deprived them of their agricultural livelihoods.

It said the church had taken concrete actions to address the problems of poor sanitation with its new Electronic Waste Management Project and urged the government to be firm in its plan to address sanitation and environmental problems.

"We are very much aware of the government's ban on illegal mining", the communique said, commending the government for its efforts, adding that illegal mining had destroyed water bodies and the ecology.

It entreated the government to be careful in its negotiation with small-scale miners for their resumption of work, explaining that care must be taken in order for the country not to return to the practice of galamsey.

The communique also observed that the Brong Ahafo Region has huge potentials for agriculture and tourism but were only marginally utilised, adding that the One-District-One-Factory Programme could therefore facilitate the full actualization of these potentials.

Political vigilantism
The GCBC also condemned all forms of vigilantism and appealed to the government to immediately take necessary steps to ban all the groups.

It said the groups were destroying property, terrorising and harming people perceived to be in the opposing camp, explaining that the groups were acting with impunity and in disregard of the law.

“Over the years, it is becoming clear that the government and the security agencies seem helpless when it comes to addressing the issue of political vigilantism", it stated.

Financial sector
On the recent crisis within the financial sector, the communique mentioned greed, conflict of interest, unchecked corruption and impunity among others as some of the reasons causing turbulence and uncertainties in the financial sector.

It commended the government for taking a bold step to strengthen regulations with the view to sanitising the sector and safeguarding the interest of clients and encouraged the government to follow up the initiative through monitoring to ensure that the desired effects were achieved.

The conference also urged the regulators to consider implementing all the safety valves that would insulate persons and allied institutions that might be unnecessarily affected by the general policy direction.

Creation of new regulations
On the creation of new regions, GCBC noted with satisfaction the government's effort to create new regions and reform the local governance system to enhance the devolution of power and resources to the regions, the districts and the communities.

It believed that the reforms, if well implemented, would enhance inclusiveness, accountability, democracy and human dignity and urged all Ghanaians to continue to be law abiding, tolerant and committed to enable them to build a free and a more just society.

It also called for measures to ensure peace and tranquility toward the organisation of the forthcoming referenda towards the creation of the six new regions.