Court orders pastor to report

The Ga South District Court has asked the head pastor of Anointed Prayer Ministry at McCarthy Hill, Accra, The Reverend Rebecca Banson, to appear before it on December 22, or be issued a bench warrant for her arrest.

The court, presided over by Mrs. Buasi Amponsah, gave the warning yesterday when Rev. Banson failed to appear before it to answer to a contempt case brought against her by the Ga South Municipal Assembly, for failing to comply with the court’s order barring her church from using musical instruments to make excessive noise during church services.

Rev. Banson did not show up in court yesterday but her lawyer, Mr. John David Merson, sent a letter to the court through the secretary asking for an adjournment to which the court agreed and adjourned hearing to December 22.

Mrs. Amponsah was however, displeased with Rev. Banson’s absence and asked that she appears the next date, or be issued a bench warrant for her arrest.

The church, in September, was fined GH¢240 and banned from using musical instruments for not complying with the Assembly’s directive to churches in the municipality to instal sound proofs in their buildings.

It paid the fine, but continued to use musical instruments and gadgets during church services.

As a result, the Assembly dragged it to court for contempt.

Earlier in April this year, the Assembly gave churches a 21-day ultimatum to instal sound proof systems in their church buildings or face closure.

This follows complaints by residents within the municipality, demanding action be taken against churches which make excessive noise, especially in the nights.

The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Jerry Akwei Thompson, said the assembly, upon discussions with the churches, set last April ending as the deadline for all churches to comply with the directives.

He said the assembly’s directive was an enforcement of its by-laws on noise making, and that churches which failed to comply would face the full rigours of the law.

Mr. Thompson also expressed worry over the springing up of churches in the municipality without the due processes, warning “the assembly would soon clamp down on them”.

Speaking to The Ghanaian Times, the assembly’s prosecutor, Mr. Ben Tabi, said the move was not only to ensure that churches comply with the assembly’s directive but also to deter other religious bodies, including Muslims, drinking bars and chop bar operators from making excessive noise in the municipality.

He said the assembly had also sent a task force to warn 10 other churches, including New Generation Church, Living Word Outreach and Great Mountain of God Ministry to instal sound proofs and avoid the excessive noise or face the full rigours of the law.

He said since the assembly followed up with its warning to drag churches to court, the level of noise experienced in the municipality had reduced drastically.

Mr. Tabi said the assembly would continue to ensure that the activities of religious bodies including Muslim prayers at dawn and playing of musical instruments by some churches do not affect the peace of residents.

By Charles Amankwa      

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