The Tema Magistrate Court has imposed a fine of ₵600 or in default three months imprisonment with hard labour on the Head Pastor of God’s Shield Gospel Ministry for noise pollution.
The court presided over by Mr. Festus Fovi Nukunu slapped the fine on the accused after he pleaded guilty to the charges of failing to obtain a sanitation report.
The prosecution, led by Issah Al-Hassan, said the accused is the founder and Head Pastor of God’s Shield Gospel Ministry at Adjei Kojo Kanewu. On June 18, 2021, a complaint of noise nuisance was lodged by some aggrieved residents against the accused person.
The prosecution told the court that a team of Environmental Health and Sanitation Officers (EHOs) was tasked to investigate and take appropriate action.
On the same day June 18, 2021, a team of EHOs commenced an investigation into the said allegation.
According to the prosecution, the fact of the case was that the church, a rented temporal structure without soundproof, was sited within a residential community.
The prosecution explained that the church had been organising weekday and weekend church activities with loud sound emanating from a public address system to the annoyance of residents in the neighbourhood.
The prosecution said it was operating without Suitability Health Report and Sanitation permit covering the church and its activities from the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit.
The accused person’s attention was drawn to the breach and he admitted the offence.
Statutory notice was served on the accused person to abate the nuisances but failed to comply with an order to suspend the weekday church activities as well as stop the use of the sound system and regulate Sunday church activities and report for further inquiries and discussions.
The Head Pastor reported on June 21, 2021, and told the team that they had stopped making noise.
However, a few days later the residents came back to the office with a documented petition which was submitted to the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit of the Tema West Municipal Assembly’s Administration Office on August 11, 2021, emphasizing the failure of the church to adhere to local authority’s advice.
Hence, the court summons was applied for and served on the local pastor to appear before the court.