Musicians and owners of copyright works within the music industry are on the neck of Carlos Sakyi, interim chairman of the newly-certified Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) and his team of leaders to account for monies the organization collected on behalf of musicians.
The situation has worsened, with music legend Abrantie Amakye Dede openly firing Carlos Sekyi and his team and calling them ‘hungry lions’, while ace musician Rex Omar has resigned from GHAMRO, citing lack of transparency and accountability.
The musicians are demanding to know how much GHAMRO collected on their behalf for the year 2012, how much Carlos and his team paid themselves and the criteria with which the monies collected were shared.
“I Amakye Dede was given GH¢250 as my royalties for the entire year. I rejected the money and I am asking Carlos and his group to tell us how much they collected on our behalf and how they shared the money. The monies they are collecting belong to all of us so they cannot just come and say Amakye take this and I would also take and not ask why I am getting this amount.
“Things are moving from bad to worse and Carlos is doing the same things he was speaking against when we were fighting COSGA to form GHAMRO. This is wrong and I Amakye Dede would not tolerate this,” Amakye Dede noted.
Interestingly, Carlos Sekyi has declined passing any comment on the issue that has raged for months. He has also refused to step aside as ‘interim chairman’ so as to allow for elections to be held.
Though not proven beyond doubt, Carlos Sekyi is said to be receiving an annual salary of GH¢30,000, in sharp contrast to the GH¢250 Amakye Dede was given and told that was the highest royalty paid.
Rex Omar, a member of GHAMRO’s board, yesterday tendered his resignation in a strong worded letter that exposed the rot going on within the board.
Below is a copy of Rex Omar’s resignation letter NEWS-ONE saw:
The Board of Directors
Interim Ghamro Board
28th January 2013
Resignation from the Interim Board as a member
Dear Mr. Chairman and fellow board members,
With a very heavy heart I am writing this letter to you. For many years of struggling to better the music industry of our dear nation Ghana, I always have been with you through thick and thin.
l have spent more than 20 years out my 30 year career working, investing and advocating for a positive change with some of you.
I have perhaps had insults, public hatred and have created unnecessary enemies for myself more than any artiste at the peak of his carrier in Ghana.
Whilst others were protecting their brands and images making money, I thought of sacrificing mine for the betterment of all.
My dear colleagues, I did all these bearing in mind the negative impact it will have on me and my career, today as I am writing to you, there are so many Ghanaians whose impression of me as person is very negative and completely opposite from my real nature because of my stands regarding our music and copyright industry which I have to live with.
But what I could not believe will ever happen during all these years of our struggle and advocacy after we are given the license to form our own CMO is exactly what is going on now with our GHAMRO.
As I have always emphasized these concerns during board meetings,
1. The direction we are going and our corporate governance principles are not compatible with the best practices around the globe
2. We are not transparent enough to our members
3. We as composers and musicians are not supposed to be running this organization for this is not an association but an international financial institution that deals with the royalties of both local and foreign right owners.
4. The composition of our board does not reflect the formation of a normal CMO hence prepare for an immediate transparent election to elect your executives to enable them employ professionals to run GHAMRO as is done in the civilized world having the interest of Ghana as paramount.
5. GHAMRO must be run as a hardnosed business entity.
After several meetings of our interim board which I am a member as I am writing this letter, it has become clear to me that GHAMRO is not looked at as one of the most important arm of our industry that must be run professionally to the benefit of all.
Ghanaian right owners alive and yet unborn but rather a property of some selected few whose mantra have been: IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT WE DO GO FORM YOUR OWN.
With the way things are going, I feel very unhappy and it is against my principles and understanding of how this business is done, hence my resignation.
Thank you and goodluck.
Rex Omar Owusu Marfo