General News of Friday, 15 March 2013
A member of government's communication team, Ras Mubarak, has denied media reports that the Mahama-led NDC is sponsoring about 200 selected pastors to embark on a pilgrimage to Israel.
He says government is only facilitating the pastors’ trip “in kind, not in cash” and therefore will not be paying any money to the clegry as earlier speculated in the media.
A Daily Guide publication on Thursday, March 14, 2013, revealed that “on February, 15, 2013, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, who is currently the Minister of Youth and Sports, wrote on the letterhead of the State Protocol Office inviting Christian bodies to select nominees for the pilgrimage.
It added that government was allotting an amount of $2 million to fund the trip travel to the Holy Land.
Each pastor, the story added, would receive $10,000 amounting to $2 million, to cover their cost of air fare, hotel bills, feeding and per diem.”
Mr Mubarak in an attempt to defend government’s decision said the Ministers of God made a request to the government during the era of the late former President Atta Mills, to embark on a pilgrimage to Israel but could not see their request through due to the demise of the president.
He said the trip is rather sponsored financially by a private entity but could not drop any name.
He argued that if the Muslim community is assisted by government to travel to Mecca during Hajj, then it is hypocritical for any person to kick against the commitment of government to create equity in the country.
“They are not being sponsored by government as being put out by the media… no government money is going to be used for this particular trip.
"Secondly, a group of pastors have made a request that government should facilitate their travel to Israel, I mean this is something that any responsible government would do,” Mr. Mubarak added.