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Musicians unhappy with Faisal
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Music of Thursday, 26 July 2007

Source: ghanamusic.com

Musicians unhappy with Faisal

Some musicians have expressed their unhappiness with the call by Mr. Faisal Helwani, a music producer and chief executive of Bibini Music Production, that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Joe Ghartey should stop COSGA from distributing royalties until its board members render accounts.

Diana B. Akiwumi, 1st Vice President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), in a statement she read at the copyright office to angry musicians last Monday, said over the years the copyright society had witnessed campaigns by Mr. Faisal Helwani, “who parades himself as an ‘expert’ and ‘kingmaker’ over nothing, and who musicians think has been given undue support by some media houses and some politicians to adulterate the general public.”

According to her, “following excessive noise made by the same Faisal Helwani on the collective administration of authors’ rights in the 90s, he gained control of the administration of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) through what became known as the Copyright Oversight Committee, from April 1998 to November 2001, when the COSGA Oversight Committee was replaced by the present COSGA Board.”

She added that “the administration record of the Oversight Committee, in which he Mr. Faisal Helwani played ‘prominent and key role’, was absolutely nothing to write home about.”

The statement alleged that Mr. Helwani and some members of his Oversight Committee fraudulently used COSGA to obtain a ¢400million (GH¢40,000) loan from the Social Security Bank, which had not been accounted for.

This loan contracted on behalf of COSGA, according to Mr Helwani, was used to produce the banderole adhesive stickers.

He explained in a chat with Beatwaves that “when the present board took over the administration of COSGA, instead of continuing the system, it rejected the banderole by introducing the gamugram stickers.”

Diana Akiwumi continued that to them if there comes any call for auditing then it has to start from the previous administration, a statement Faisal Helwani responded to by boldly indicating that he was ever ready for a probe.

On royalty collection and distribution, Diana said the performance of Mr. Helwani’s administration and that of the present board did not compare.

Diana Akiwumi intimated that from 2002 till date, when the present COSGA Board took over, musicians were aware that the Board consistently collected and distributed royalties twice in a year, in spite of all the difficulties the Board faced in handling 1,800 composers and producers.

The statement however failed to disclose the total amount collected on behalf of right owners from 2002 till date.

Less than 50 composers and producers received royalties from the Oversight Committee throughout their tenure of office and even from the 50 there was no record of actual receipt from COSGA, she said.

“Composers are hereby calling on Mr. Faisal Helwani to disclose on behalf of his colleagues the recipients of royalties when they were in charge of COSGA, before he calls for a probe,” she declared.

In a related development in Kumasi, Prof. Kofi Abraham, a veteran composer, member of COSGA and the Ashanti Regional Chairman of MUSIGA has warned Mr. Faisal Helwani to desist from what he called his unguarded utterances.

Prof. Abraham, at a press conference said if Faisal had nothing against the current leaders the best thing he could have done was to have first consulted them.

He contended that since he (Faisal) had once held office in MUSIGA before, he had no moral justification to meddle in the affairs of the union as though he had a special interest in the welfare of musicians in the country.

Richard Yin, a musician, told DAILY GUIDE that “if Helwani is calling on Hon. Joe Ghartey to set up a committee to probe all stakeholders in the music industry, it is good, but there was no need for him to suggest that the distribution of the royalties should be stopped,” he contended.

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