A GROUP calling itself Concerned Members of COSGA has called on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, to dismiss the President of the Musicians Union Ghana (MUSIGA), Mrs. Diana Hopeson, from the interim Board of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA).
In a petition to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the group accused Diana Hopeson of misappropriating huge sums of money she collected from the Registrar-GeneralÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Department for distribution to composers.
According to the group, Diana Hopeson, after receiving the money, deducted an amount of GHÃ‚Â¢14,705.39, supposedly for the administrative expenses of MUSIGA.
But in an interview Diana Hopeson denied ever misappropriating money belonging to composers saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is not true that I have misappropriated funds. I did the distribution on behalf of COSGAÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Diana Hopeson told BEATWAVES that although she has not received a copy of the petition, the allegations made against her by the Concerned Members of COSGA are not true.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have time for all these things. We have a lot of things to do for the industryÃ¢â‚¬Â, she stressed. Ã‚Â
The group was of the view that DianaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presence on the board has the potential of undermining its credibility and the authority of the Attorney-General in resolving the protracted COSGA disaster.
Upon vociferous protests from composers that MUSIGA had no right to either collect or distribute these monies, the Deputy Registrar-General ordered Diana to return the entire composersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ funds, totaling GHÃ‚Â¢85,753.41, to the office of the Registrar-General for onward distribution.
Shockingly, the amount returned was short by GHÃ‚Â¢9,273.41, in addition to the initial GHÃ‚Â¢14,705.39 she took for MUSIGA.
It said persistent calls on Diana Hopeson by the Deputy Registrar-General to return the misappropriated amount of GHÃ‚Â¢ 9,273.41 have failed, even resulting in heated exchanges bordering on offensive conduct on the part of Diana Hopeson towards the Deputy Registrar-General, which was witnessed by a number of songwriters.
The petition further called for the preclusion from the new Board members of the former Board, headed by Alhaji Sidiku Buari, who have been ordered by the Attorney-General to finally account for their stewardship of COSGA from 2001 to 2008 to prevent conflict of interest situations from undermining the work of the current Board.
The musicians have thus made a declaration of no confidence in Diana Hopeson, stating clearly that DianaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s conduct had called into question her credibility, and thus she cannot represent their interests, particularly as her new duties include presiding over the distribution of funds to stakeholders.
In addition, the musicians objected to the inclusion to the elections of a substantive Board for COSGA on the agenda of the IMC, calling rather for the speedy liquidation of the multi-disciplinary COSGA so the new private societies envisaged in the Copyright Act 690 can take off, in fulfillment of the constitutional right to free association.
Finally, the musicians are demanding that the Copyright Administrator, Mr. B.K. Bosumprah, be probed for his conduct, actions and inactions that have turned COSGA and the Copyright sector into a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tragic DisasterÃ¢â‚¬Â.
They stated emphatically that they are finally taking their destiny into their own hands as owners of intellectual property, and appealed to the government of President Atta-Mills to play its rightful role of facilitator and collaborator, and not that of imposer and controller, to ensure the creation of an enabling environment for the embattled sector to flourish.
By George Clifford Owusu