AFRICA/MALI - "What is the aim of the article on alleged hidden accounts of the Bishops?" asks the Episcopal Conference

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Bamako (Agenzia Fides) - "We are fully at the service of the Church's works", says a statement by the Bishops' Conference of Mali, sent to Fides, in response to the article published by the newspaper "Le Monde", according to which there appears to be "mysterious bank accounts" in Switzerland attributable to some Malian Bishops.
By the same admission of the article's editors, "at the beginning of 2015, when the SwissLeaks scandal was published by Le Monde, and by about 60 international media, coordinated by the International Investigative Journalism Consortium (ICIJ), the names of other Malians in banking documents emerged (...). But the Swiss accounts of the three senior executives (sic) of the Malian Episcopate of the time remained unobserved".
The Bishops of Mali are wondering whether "the authors of the tendentious article aim at an undetermined goal rather than providing constructive information to the public". In particular, one is wondering why only such an article would be published just now after Pope Francis announced the creation of new Cardinals, one of whom is the Archbishop of Bamako, His Exc. Mgr. Jean Zerbo, one of the Bishops mentioned in the daily newspaper. "Does his act accomplished when our Church is honored by the appointment of its first Cardinal, aim at ruining its image and destabilize it? God who sees and knows everything will know one day how to restore the truth", concludes the statement.
The document recalls that "the Bishops Conference of Mali operates in total transparency. It has statutes, rules of procedure and a manual of procedures that establish the functions of each Bishop (...). No Bishop acts personally. All activities are regularly examined".
Mali is going through a very difficult political and military crisis. The Church is committed to seeking to restore peace and aid to populations in distress. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 1/6/2017)