The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has described as ‘false, malicious and defamatory’ statements made by the former Public Relations Officer of the church, Dr Emmanuel Osei Akyeampong, alleging that outgoing Moderator, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, took a bribe of $100,000 from an opposition political leader.
Reacting to comments Rev Martey made at a press conference on Tuesday August 30 to the effect that some politicians had tried to bribe him to stop being critical of them, Dr Akyeampong said, Rev Martey took the bribe. In an interview on the Executive Breakfast Show on Class 91.3FM on Thursday September 1, he repeated that Rev Martey took the bribe with glee. Dr Akyeampong also alleged that he was sacked because he refused the take his share of the bribe.
However, the Presbyterian Church in a statement signed by Rev George Ezekiel Larbi, PRO, said Dr Akyeampong’s appointment was terminated because of acts of misrepresentation and fraud and not because he rejected a $50,000 bribe.
“The Presbyterian Church of Ghana published the reason for his termination of appointment in June 2013. It is, therefore, false to link termination of his appointment to this ridiculous claim he is making,” the statement said.
According to the church, its leadership does not support any political party and its leaders are non-partisan in nature but they believe that the church should be interested in how the nation is governed and the clergy, like the Biblical Prophets of old, must be the moral conscience of society.
SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT
The Public Relations Unit of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) attention has been drawn to media reports attributed to a former Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Osei Akyeampong, in which he made false, malicious and defamatory claims against the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Right Rev Professor Emmanuel Martey. He was reacting to comments the Moderator made at a Press Conference on Tuesday to the effect that some politicians had tried to bribe him (the Moderator). Mr. Akyeampong is quoted as saying on Accra-based Kassapa Radio that:
“Today marks a sad day for the Christian religion; the statement from Prof. Martey is one of the most unfortunate that I have heard in recent times, a leader should have ethical communication which will not escalate into violence. Jesus never talked this way. Prof Martey is speaking in the opposite way, when he came into office, he presented to us a statement from one of the strongest political parties, when we kicked against it, he sacked me.
“In July 28, 2013, around 8:15pm, he invited me to the office of one of the leading opposition parties, not the ruling government, when I got there he had received the 100,000 dollars and a V8 he is claiming to have rejected. And he gave me 50,000 dollars, I am speaking on authority that he received the money.”
Mr. Akyeampong claims he rejected the $50,000 dollars and that his politician friend who was at the said meeting later asked him to resign because a plan had been hatched to dismiss him for the fear that he would expose the moderator. He then went ahead to say that this was the reason for his dismissal.
The Public Relations Unit would want to place the following facts:
1. Mr. Emmanuel Osei Akyeampong appointment was terminated because of acts of misrepresentation and fraud. The Presbyterian Church of Ghana published the reason for his termination of appointment in June 2013. It is, therefore, false to link termination of his appointment to this ridiculous claim he is making.
2. In fact, the church issued a press statement/disclaimer on June 21, 2013, and addressed to all media houses when he was still holding himself up as the PRO after the termination of his appointment
3. During this period, Mr. Akyeampong resorted to character assassination of some top officials of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, especially the Moderator, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey. It therefore does not make sense that, on July 28, more than one month after his dismissal, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey would invite Mr. Akyeampong to the office of a political party to receive a bribe. The stories on termination of Mr. Akyeampong’s appointment and the dates can be found on the following websites and links:
MYJOYONLINE.COM: Presbyterian Church issues strongly-worded disclaimer over former church PRO: http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201306/108299.php
PEACEFMONLINE.COM: Presbyterian Church Terminates The Appointment Of Emmanuel Osei Akyeampong: http://www.peacefmonline.com/pages/local/religion/201306/167175.php
GHANAWEB.COM: Presbyterian Church issues disclaimer over former church PRO: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/religion/Presbyterian-Church-issues-disclaimer-over-former-church-PRO-277591
4. It is also not true that Mr. Akyeampong’s appointment was terminated so that he would not expose the moderator. He claims his politician friend told him after the said meeting on July 28, 2013, to resign because the moderator was determined to get rid of him. This is also false because his appoint had already been terminated and communicated to him, and the general public more than a month earlier.
When Mr Akyeampong’s claim of July 28th 2013 was challenged, he quickly changed the date to 28th July, 2012.
5. The PR Unit also wants to put on record that the Communiqué of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is not authored by the Moderator or the PRO of the church. It is authored by a committee called Committee on Church h and Society who will then present it to the general Assembly which is the highest decision-making body of the church for approval. The communiqué is then presented to the general public by the Moderator on behalf of the church at a Press Conference. It is therefore false for Mr. Akyeampong to claim that he was in charge of writing the communiqué and that the Moderator wanted him to write the views of a political party and he refused.
6. The PR Unit wants to reiterate that the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and its leadership do not support any political party. The church and its leadership are non-partisan in nature. In fact, there are members of the Church in almost all political parties. There are members of the church who are ministers and other high government officials in every regime in this country. For this reason, the Church does not take sides.
7. We, however, believe that the church should be interested in how the nation is governed and the clergy, like the Biblical Prophets of old, must be the moral conscience of society. Ezekiel 33:7-9 captures one of such charges: “7“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die fora their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”
8. A church which does not have interest in the affairs of the state is an irrelevant church. Economic hardship, corruption, unemployment, power and water crises, as well as many challenges that arise from bad governance also affect members of the church. For this reason, the Moderator deem it as a moral and religious obligation to point out to leadership of the nation (irrespective of which political party is in government) to do what is right and beneficial to the nation.
9. It does not make sense for the Church to resort to prayers and fasting when the solutions can be found in commonsensical application of our human and natural resources for the good of society.
10. The Unit wishes to state that Moderator will continue to speak up on the affairs of this country, and no amount of intimidation, malicious lies and verbal attacks will deter him from speaking the truth.
REV GEORGE EZEKIEL LARBI
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GHANA