Private legal practitioner, Maurice Ampaw has stated that most religious institutions, particularly churches are abusing the laws that support their establishment.
According to him, most churches have breached the laws under which they were established and ought to be punished by the state.
Speaking on Net2 TV’s The Seat Show on Monday, November 8, 2021, Maurice Ampaw said that that under the Trustee’s Law, no pastor can claim ownership of a church.
The legal practitioner explained that the real owners of the church are the members and that the pastors hold the churches in trust for the members.
He said that it was wrong for any pastor to register a church in the name of their relative or anyone other than the church members.
“No pastor owns a church. There is no pastor in this country who owns a church. ICGC does not belong to Otabil, he is a trustee. All the church properties and everything belongs to the church. There is no pastor who can say that in law, I own a church. You are just a trustee of the church. Every pastor is an agent of the church,” he said.
Maurice Ampaw also expressed disquiet about the growing rate of franchise churches in the country.
The practice where a more established and popular church act as a franchisor and grant permission to another pastor to leverage on its brand is fast gaining prominence in Ghana and Ampaw says it is against the law.
He explains that the franchise model places more responsibilities on the franchisee church to meet certain obligations which in most cases breeds corruption.
He, therefore, has called on regulators to move in quickly and avert any situation that is not in line with the law.
“The more the members are aware, the more there is transparency and that is where the pastors become accountable. A pastor can open a branch then the main church will sack him. I’m very uncomfortable when pastors become brands. Those churches operate a franchise and the franchise breeds corruption. Most of these pastors engage in corruption. The issue of probity and accountability must happen in the church too,” he said.
Maurice Ampaw also said that the failure of state institutions to deal with false prophecy is what has compelled the Ghana Police Service to take up the fight.