Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG)’s PRO issues this long statement and i urge you to have time and read it. This is just the first edition of the whole show. It is published unedited.
After the elections of new executives for the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG), last year 28th August, 2013, one would have thought, by now the storm in the association would have been calmed.
It is obvious some people have still not resuscitated from the shock of their loss in the election and have determined in their hearts to make the work of the new administration very difficult for them. It’s like saying without them, nothing should and can go on for FIPAG.
Immediately after the handing over from the old executives to the new executives, Mr. Augustine Abbey was quick to press to announce that certain individuals have “chopped” the money of the association. He was quick to give inconsistent accounts to the press, suggesting the finance of the association had being endangered by certain individual but him. To Mr. Abbey, nobody loves FIPAG than he does. But I can say emphatically that ‘THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO FIPAG MEMBER, WHO CAN LOVE THE ASSOCIATION MORE THAN HIS FAMILY’.
After leaving the new executives with absolute zilch and treasury bills he could not give full account off, Mr. Abbey is still going round, touting himself and his comrade. Mr. Akwetey Kanyi, as the only righteous FIPAG members. These two men are the main reason why FIPAG elections had to delay. They are the reason the handing over also had to delay and today, they are the reason Royalties meant for deserving producers cannot and are not being distributed from the ARSOG office. THE MONEY CAME LATTER PART OF LAST YEAR.
Their behavior only goes to attest to James Thom’s saying: “too often we seek justice, but for just us”
Mr. Abbey is registered as a member of FIPAG, with his wife also registered as FIPAG member but both having the same movies and titles as the movies each has produced. Greed and hypocrisy at its best!
How could he produce the same movies with his wife but both registered with separate company names, and as members of the same association? What will happen if all the husbands in the association decide to follow suit? All this is because of levies and royalties that he would get doubled for his family. He’s done same with the wife at ARSOG.
That is how greedy our all righteous ex-president could be.
In the year 2012, when Mr. Abbey was still the president of FIPAG, something dramatic happened. Before this incident, members could call the FIPAG office in the MUSIGA building, and their call would be received by one Major Frederick Gyampo, as the acting administrator. By March the same year, the office was dramatically closed down and the same man who was acting as the administrator for the association, had being transmogrified into the General Manager for the AUDIO- VISUAL RIGHTS SOCIETY OF GHANA (ARSOG).
No one could immediately understand this but it explained why the association’s money was used without the knowledge of members, to take this same man on foreign trips to learn courses concerning Collective Management Organization (CMO). FIPAG sponsored Major Gyampo’s (rtd) studies abroad in preparation for the ossification of ARSOG. All this happening under the auspices of our all-righteous and all-genuine Ex-president; Mr. Augustine Abbey and his abled comrade, Mr. Akwetey- Kanyi Ashangbor (the Two times financial secretary of FIPAG)
ARSOG, by way of information, was formed by the film producers association of Ghana (FIPAG). It is the body responsible for collection and distribution of levies and royalties for film producers. It was registered on 26th July, 2007, the registration documents were signed by 2 Executive members of FIPAG, with FIPAG’S MONEY. The idea was to make it a CMO responsible for the collection of levies, royalties and their subsequent distribution to deserving member. ARSOG is made up the following film related Associations:
Film producers, script writers, television Producers, music video producers, performers, composers of music in film etc. The ARSOG constitution stipulates how the society’s board should be formed:
3 Executives from film producers (FIPAG)
2 from Performers (Ghana Actors Guild)
1 from script writers
1 from music video producers
1 from TV producers.
1 Composers of music in film
When Mr. Abbey became president for FIPAG, he saw the need to flood the ARSOG board with his Executives, including himself. A reason why the FIPAG office was closed and the association being run from Mr. Abbey’s ‘armpit’. Without informing the general members, as was typical of him, he elected himself, Mr. Ashangbor Akwetey-Kanyi and Mr. Stanley Sackey as the representatives from FIPAG on the ARSOG board. There was no problem with that. Nobody had qualms with that. He personally saw to the calculation and distribution of the royalties of members for 2011 and 2012, enriching himself and his right hand comrade with huge sums of money. In 2007 Mr. Abbey had GH¢2,401, GH¢4,600 IN 2011 (When he was President), GH¢4,900 in 2012 (when he was still the President of FIPAG). His right hand man, Mr. Akwetey – Kanyi also saw increase from being a floor member to being Financial Secretary: GH¢2,401, GH¢ 4,600 and GH¢ 4,900 in 2012.
In 2012, before the distribution, Mr. Abbey and his comrade went to Kumasi to deceive the people into believing ARSOG was now being formed and that members were required to submit two (2) films each for an across board same points, knowing very well that the people in Kumasi had a lot more films and could earn more points. He ended up sharing the lion’s share to himself and his colleagues, while giving almost flat rate to those from Kumasi, but for the obvious ones. How could anybody say Augustine Abbey has a lot more films to his credit than Mr. Nyamekye of Miracle films?
The remaining of the money distributed in 2012 could not be accounted for since ARSOG has never rendered any account to the members for almost three (3) years now. They always profess to be planning a certain congress which has never being. The idea is that accounts would be rendered at congress. Until congress, Mr. Abbey and friends continue to squander the fruit of other people’s labor.
MR. ABBEY’S GREED, POLITICS OF ENVY AND SELFISHNESS
Since the coming into office of the new Executives, persistent attempts have being made to replace the representatives of FIPAG on the ARSOG board, but all has being refuted by Mr. Abbey, Mr. Akwetey – Kanyi and their backbone, Mr. Prempeh; Interim Board Chairman, and representative for the TV producers on the board.
Articles 6 (sections 9A &10), 13, 14 and 15, talks about the membership of the ARSOG board, application, representation, composition, removal and replacement of a member or members of the board, by the stakeholder association. These articles and section gives FIPAG the right to replace their representation on the ARSOG board. But consistently Mr. Abbey, Mr. Prempeh (INT. Chairman) and Mr. Akwetey – Kanyi have consistently refused to allow the constitution to simply work.
People who closed FIPAG office to run for ‘chop – chop’ at ARSOG as our representatives are now denying ever representing FIPAG. They say they are now representing Hausa film makers Association, Zongo Filmmakers Association, Ewe filmmakers Association, Producers Guild of Ghana etc and all film producers in Ghana. How disingenuous could you be Mr. Abbey and Mr. Akwetey – Kanyi?
STOP EMBARRASSING YOURSELVES! All these bodies you said you are representing have their members registered with FIPAG. They are not all producer bodies, please check your facts! The associations belong to both the actor, crew and the producers which disqualifies them from even being represented. In any case, how can you represent people whom you barely know? These bodies are not all registered with the registrar general’s office! They have neither sent a letter to the ARSOG board for representation nor chosen anybody to represent them on the board.
The money that came as royalties for members of ARSOG, for disbursement last year, is huge and unprecedented. A reason for these greedy and selfish tactics to repudiate any attempt to be replaced on the ARSOG board. If you have a board in which members travelling for just a funeral, would be given GH¢600 each, plus plane tickets and huge sitting allowances, why wouldn’t members resist any attempt to be replaced.
Because of ‘chop-chop’, people who were hitherto representing FIPAG, are now looking for new Associations to represent, even though the constitution gives room for only 9 members on the board. When pushed, these greedy men; Mr. Prempeh, Mr. Abbey and Mr. Akwetey-Kanyi, could only come up with a proposal that only sort to violate the constitution of ARSOG, but to serve their interest.
Mr. Prempeh was the producer for the defunct TV series called ‘TAXI DRIVER’. He is representing TV producers on the board but he has no members? He is the interim Chairman of the board, who is fighting to destroy the work of the board because his money was not used in registering the society. When people were fighting to institute the society he was nowhere to be found but now, he’s seen the amount of money that comes through ARSOG, and greed is blinding his eyes not to see what truth is.
“YOU CAN DO NOTHING AGAINST THE TRUTH BUT FOR THE TRUTH.”
Mr. Prempeh’s candidature to permanent chairmanship of the board is supported by Abbey and Akwetey – Kanyi and Abeiku Segoe. Because of his position, he’s is determined to see to the destruction of the society, if his chairmanship is threatened. This kind of tactless politics, Mr. Prempeh is very vagary and disgusting.
You claim to be representing TV producers, where are your members? You are all riding on the good will of film producers to enrich your pockets.
When Idikoko was the President of FIPAG and the lead representative of FIPAG on the ARSOG Board, which he himself had admitted on several platforms, he saw and understood that 10% of Royalties money was taken for ARSOG capacity building, 20% for FIPAG capacity building, and 15% for GAG capacity building but now, because of his envious character, coupled with those of his compatriots, they have being able to locate the legal modus of disbursement. This modus was hidden from them until when they are asked to be replaced by FIPAG.
Now capacity building for FIPAG has changed from 20% to 7%, and that of ARSOG has illegally shot up to 30%. ARSOG has increased registration fees of movies from GHS 5 to GHS 20, without informing any member or at least Executives of FIPAG to be forwarded to the members.
Since the commencement of the ARSOG board, let them tell us one thing they have been able to do to protect the work of film producers, in respect to, levy collection, piracy and right protection of our work, which seem to be the most important part of their mandate. But no. All their attention is on when the next royalty money will come?
The frustrations these greedy and selfish men are putting the new FIPAG executives through compelled Socrates Sarfo, who is representing music video producers, to decide to want to quit his position, with emotions, for a FIPAG representative to replace him. But no, that is not what the constitution says, Mr. Sarfo. Why should the greed of three men be the reason why, such an important body bedeviled with such frustrations and difficulties.
WHY IS IDIKOKO AND HIS FRIENDS DOING THAT?
The reason is simple, the amount of money that came in last year is huge and he needs to cash in. Any producer, who collected the 2012 royalty money, would remember Idikoko was the sole disburser of the money. People who felt being cheated and grew bellicose were calm by the greedy man and given extra. He was sharing the money, as if he owned it.
He and his friends know they didn’t deserve the amount of money they were taking for themselves and if they don’t share this huge sum of money, they would be given what they truly deserve which will be less what they were taking.
They also know that after sharing the money, what is left off it disappears into their pockets. Why should they leave such a board even though they know they have to?
Abbey also has noticed that if given FIPAG the amount they used to take when he was in charge, Hackman and his team can transform the association, which will affect his candidature for the 2017 FIPAG elections. The plan; we should make sure they don’t get funds to transform the association so we get better chance of coming back to power.
I, Ola Kwaku Michael, will personally devote my time to campaign vigorously against such greedy, selfish plebeians should they intend standing for position again in FIPAG.
WATCH OUT FOR PART TWO. WHERE I TELL YOU HOW ARSOG HAS CHANGED THE LIFES OF SOME OF THE BOARD MEMBERS, WITH ABBEY IN THE LEAD ROLE.
LONG LIVE FIPAG. LONG LIVE MOTHER GHANA.
Mr. Ola Kwaku Michael
PRO – FIPAG.