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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Pornography Scam:Top Producer Involved

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Abdul Salam

Since last week, members of the Ghana Cinematograph Exhibition Board of Control have been at their wits end trying to unravel how a top Ghanaian movie producer fooled them into passing an obviously pornographic movie for general sale to the public.
The producer, Abdul Salam Mumuni of Venus Films, one of the fine movie producers in the country and a multiple awards winner has since December last year, been selling a movie on the streets and in shops in Accra and Kumasi with the title Dirty Secrets which can only be categorized as soft porn.
Some movie enthusiasts who have bought copies of the said movie have been so disgusted with what they saw that they have raised concerns over the work of the Cinematograph Board which is authorized by law to preview and classify all movies meant for distribution in Ghana.
Indeed, one such enthusiast personally carried her copy of the offending movie to the offices of the Board to make a complaint. “How can this movie be sold here in Ghana without he Board knowing about it?”, she asked. Surprisingly, the Board knew about the movie. According to records from a register that was shown to Showbiz last Tuesday at the Board’s secretariat located in the offices of the Information Services Department in Accra, the said movie was passed on December 15 last year.
According to Mr. A.G. Amamoo, Assistant Director of Information Services and secretary to the Board, the movie was presented by Abdul Salam Mumuni’s outfit for preview in December. When a panel of the Board saw it, they found some portions of the movie unwholesome and advised the producer to take it back and edit those portions before the movie could be put out on the market.
Obediently, the producers went away and returned days later with an edited copy of the movie which was subsequently classified as A (for adult viewing) and passed. The Board could as well as saved their time and energy.
Even before the classification certificate could be issued by the Board, copies of Dirty Secrets were already selling like hot ‘aboloo’ on the market and these copies were not the edited version. This one contained all the unwholesome portions of bouts of sex, incest and sodomy that the Board had recommended to be removed.
Two days ago, when Showbiz contacted Mr. Ken Addy, a member of the Board whose name appeared in the register as one of the members of the panel who previewed the movie, he was beside himself with disgust and collaborated what Mr. Amamoo, the secretary of the Board had told Showbiz earlier.
Mr. Addy recommended that a serious view be taken of the incident. “I think that it is incumbent on the Board to take drastic action against any producer who is found to distribute a film without the necessary authorisation.“Even in the absence of a new Information Bill, the 1965 law still says it is an offence so why should the Board and the Ministry not punish offenders?”.
The producer was obviously exploiting a supervisory inadequacy in the work of the Board which only gives a go ahead to producers without any enforcement role. But Abdul Salam Mumuni denies that he deliberately attempted to fool the Board.
Taking some time off his shooting schedule on location last Tuesday, he told Showbiz over the phone that he did not produce the film himself and that he only acquired the rights to distribute in Ghana from a Nigerian producer.
He denied that he intended to fool the Board. “What happened was that by the time the Board gave us the go ahead, the copies had already been made in Nigeria and shipped to Ghana.” He expressed his regret over the matter and said he had ordered all remaining copies to be retrieved from the market.
Similar comments were made by Stephen Hackman, President of Film Distributors Association of Ghana. He told Showbiz that the incident was unfortunate and he had personally had discussions with Deputy Minister of Information Mr. Agyenim Boateng who acts as President of the Board on behalf of the minister over the matter and Mumuni has been asked to retrieve all copies of the movie form the market.
The request appears to have come too late as producers are known to maximise the sale of the new movies in the week of their release. This particular movie has been on the market for over six weeks.
In May last year, the Minister of Information, John Tia Akologo, appalled by the large number of complaints from the general public over the presence of indecent films on the market disbanded the Board and reconstituted it with the aim of sanitizing the film exhibition systems.

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