The Human Rights High Court in Accra has asked Counsel for legendary hi-life musician Nana Kwame Ampadu and 99 others, who have sued the interim Ghana Music Right Organization (GHAMRO) board, to sue the entire board and not a selected few.
Nana Kwame Ampadu and the 99 musicians, composers, song writers, music producers and music rights owners have accused Carlos Sakyi, Chairman of (GHAMRO), of embezzling funds collected on behalf of music rights owners in Ghana.
They filed the suit on Thursday, May 15, 2014. According to the writ of summons, Carlos Sakyi and other GHAMRO Board members including Amandzeba Nat Brew, K.K. Kabobo and Mark Okraku Mantey “have deliberately refused to organize even a single Annual General Meeting since May 2011 when they took office as interim Board Members.
“Carlos Sakyi, Amandzeba, K.K. Kabobo and Mark Okraku Mantey have been dissipating the funds of the organization to the disadvantage of the Rights Owners and have been paying themselves monthly salaries between GH¢2,000 and GH¢4,000, excluding other allowances, even though the regulation of the organization expressly forbids the payment of salaries,” the writ added.
The 99 musicians include, Nana Kwaku Duah (Tic Tac), Daniel Amakye Dede, Rex Omar Owusu Marfo, Charles Kwadwo Fosu (Daddy Lumba), Reginald Rockstone Ossei (Reggie Rockstone), Edward Nana Opoku (Hammer), Emmanuel Samini, Emmanuel Botwe (Kwaw Kese), Alfred Benjamin Crentsil, Theophilus Tagoe (Castro), Belinda Ekua Amoah (Mzbel), and Nana Tuffour.
Counsel for the plaintiffs, Garry Nemako asked the court, presided over by Justice Essel Mensah, to place an interlocutory injunction on the GHAMRO board from holding themselves as the board of the organization since their term has elapsed.
According to him, the interim board assumed office in May 2011 and were supposed to be in office for two years after which GHAMRO was to elect a permanent board through a general meeting.
Garry Nemako noted that the interim board has not fulfilled the requirement of electing a permanent board, they have not organized a single Annual General Meeting (AGM), and they have also failed to render accounts since the Attorney General licensed GHAMRO on December 23, 2011 to collect money on behalf of music rights owners.
The above, he said, contravenes Section 149 of the Companies Act and stressed that Carlos Sakyi, Amandzeba Nat Brew, K.K. Kabobo and Mark Okraku Mantey cannot run GHAMRO as their personal enterprise.
Counsel for the plaintiffs urged the court to ask the accused to render accounts of the monies collected, they must organize an AGM, and the board should be dissolved for an interim board to be constituted to organize general elections for a permanent board within six months.
The trial judge, Justice Essel Mensah stated that the plaintiff must sue the 12-member board and not only four of the board members because if the board must go, everybody must go with them.
He therefore urged that other members of the board – Kojo Antwi, John Mensah Sarpong, Akwesi Agyepong, Ahmed Banda (Bandex), Bice Osei Kuffour (Obour), Daniel Adjei (Dan Ray), Abebe Kakraba, and Mary Ghansah – should be given the opportunity to also defend themselves in court.
Counsel for the accused, Pappoe Robert argued that the application by the plaintiffs cannot stand on its own and prayed that it should be thrown out.
Justice Essel Mensah ruled that in the interest of justice, all members of the interim board must be made parties to the suit. He therefore adjourned the case to June 20.
Garry Nemako told Myjoyonline.com after the hearing that the ruling is “in good taste because our intention is to sack the entire board.”
“We had targeted the entire board, the thing is that we selected these people they seem [to have been] in charge behind the organization as if it’s their personal enterprise that’s why we picked [chose] them but the entire board must go,” he added.
Nana Kwame Ampadu told Myjoyonline.com that the whole board was sued but “the other members who were re-sued were appointed by the board to run the affairs of GHAMRO”.
“The whole board, they come to board meetings, they take their allowances but these four – Carlos Sakyi, Amandzeba Nat Brew, K.K. Kabobo, and Mark Okraku Mantey – are the working management. They have to arrange for congress, meetings [and] they have to see to the accounting and show it to the board.”