Readers’ Mail: My Honest Opinion On FIPAG, It’s Ban & Socrate Sarfo + Why FIPAG Should Ban Socrate Sarfo Rather…

Yvonne Nelson, Ekow Smith & Kofi Adjorlolo
Yvonne Nelson, Ekow Smith & Kofi Adjorlolo

I will borrow the international relation’s definition of power, “The ability of one country to get another to do its bidding” as cited in IR The New World Order of International Relations, fifth edition (Roskin, Michael G. and Berry, Nicholas, O., 2002) to begin my argument in response to article, Socrate Sarfo Clears The Air On Kofi Adjorlolo & Ekow Smith Ban + Talks About His New Movie Coming Out Soon “What Sex Can Do

The reason for using the opening definition is to eliminate the misconception that power automatically equates force.  In reading the aforementioned article I was struck by, what I saw as missing information.

I will therefore, throughout this piece, pose a series of questions that came to my mind as I read the interview.

I needed some clarity on the legitimacy on the Film Producers Association of Ghana so I sought to engage some background information from my friend, Mr. Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri. Mr. Chris-Vincent Agyapong-Febiri is the founder of GhanaCelebrities.Com and the person who conducted the interview with Mr. Socrate Sarfo (PR of FIPAG).

I mentioned to Chris that I wanted to write a readers response to the interview but was doing a brief internet research on the legitimacy of FIPAG as to its affiliation with ECOWAS, Ghana’s Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Arts and Culture.

Our conversation made me privy, somewhat of a crash course in Ghana’s laws on free trade agreement as it relates to ECOWAS.

Basically what I learned was that the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) is a registered association/agency and its legal capacity obviously lies in the evidence of its certification of incorporation.

This led to consider its legal power to impose the laws, as Sarfo posed as his argument to criminal/misconduct of Mr. Ekow Smith Asante (who identified himself as the producer of the movie being shot on location) in working with Nigerians who did not obtain the proper paperwork to work in Ghana, as one the initial reason for a required meeting with FIPAG to discuss the issue.

Failure on the part of Mr. Ekow Smith Asante to comply with FIPAG’s request lead to him being banned.  Interestingly enough, Mr. Sarfo cited that it was the violation of ECOWAS regulations on free trade as the reason for Mr. Asante being banned but failed to say whether or not he, Sacrate Sarfo reported Mr. Asante’s violation of the country’s and ECOWAS’ laws to the appropriate agencies to deal with this as a legal matter.  It is after all, a legal matter to be handled by the country’s judicial system.

Sacrate Sarfo’s and FIPAG’s response led me to then inquire about the legitimacy of the power to ban individuals deemed to be in violation of the codes of conduct within the Ghana movie industry.

FIPAG apparently is the governing body of the Ghana movie industry, whether by self-imposition, automatic design or appointment.  Thus, my next question; how does one become a member of FIPAG?

I would like to know the process by which production houses or individuals become a member of FIPAG? Is there a registration process in which applicants are screened and educated on the codes of conduct under which the organization operates?

If, so then I can understand the authority to which FIPAG exercise penalty for violations.  Members would, all things being equal, sign an agreement to operate in accordance with FIPAG’s bylaws as well as Ghana’s legislation.

After all member States and signatories of the UN are required to follow their rules and as such subjected to disciplinary action(s) as pertaining to violations. This therefore would be a contractual agreement and penal enforcement as laid out would give credibility to FIPAG’s disciplinary actions.

Are the bylaws/codes of conduct of FIPAG known by its members? I sought to find a website for FIPAG to locate its board members and their position, codes of conduct and bylaws, etc.  I am yet to find such.

As far as my brief conversation and online research yielded, FIPAG is not even supported by any government agency or ministry.  They use the regulations of ECOWAS as an indictment against Mr. Smith Asante but failed to mention in-house violation.

I would like to see the government’s and ECOWAS’ penalty for this crime.  FIPAG (and Mr. Sarfo) as self-imposed police should follow up on all parties involved in the violations of the free trade regulations.

So far, FIPAG has not stated what actions have been taken on the Nigerians on this matter.  As a so-called regulatory body it is subjected to report all criminal actives to the proper authorities.

Yet another question I have is; is there a disciplinary board (unbiased) within the FIPAG to hold hearings for its members?

This is very important as it would serve to eliminate ‘mafia’ style justice.  It seems to me, that the only penalty for “violations” within this FIPAG organization is banning/sidelining.

That style of justice and penalty is utterly ridiculous.  Are the ban time limits on ‘violators’ arbitrary?  There should be a standard by which misconduct and violations are measured.

The arbitrary timeframe for banning individuals/members should be clearly stated and voted on by either a combination of ‘registered’ members and official board members or an agreement that the judicial board within FIPAG establish the disciplinary action within reason.

I wonder if banning a person is the only ‘disciplinary’ action available. FIPAG may want to look into that more closely.

Violation of laws, as Sarfo cited in relation to Mr. Ekow Smith Asante is very different from the misconduct of Mr.  Kofi Adjorlolo (and also Ms. Yvonne Nelson not mentioned in this particular interview).

Therefore each case should be considered on its own merit. Is there an appeal system in place?  Any organization looking out for the welfare of its members would have a structure in place wherewith an appeal can be made by person(s) cited as in violation of regulations and bylaws.

The helter-skelter disciplinary actions imposed by FIPAG caused me to question the legitimacy and mission of this organization.  It appears that FIPAG is actually falling into the ‘rabbit hole’ syndrome and meeting the objectionable ‘queen of hearts’ with low self-esteem.

Anyone who dares to challenge or threaten the status quo will be banned…’off with their heads’.  Rather than being laudable, FIPAG is laughable.

I truly believe that if FIPAG wants anyone to consider it a figure of legitimate authority it should look at the quality of the films, namely Sacrate Sarfo’s productions and subject him to its codes of conduct on quality.

Maybe a five year ban for Sarfo with monetary penalty and several required courses in film production at a credible institution would be the answer.

There are lots more to say but I have gone on long enough.  Comments, positive or negative are appreciated as long as they are constructive.

Thank you, Ms.  KL, USA


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20 thoughts on “Readers’ Mail: My Honest Opinion On FIPAG, It’s Ban & Socrate Sarfo + Why FIPAG Should Ban Socrate Sarfo Rather…”

  1. is great idikoko the sec? why team with this knob head sarfo anyway. originality sells, call me old fashioned but the best tv moments in Ghana were the inspector bediako’s and idikoko with awero, jebudaya and the like. FIPAG is a sham

    • the authority of FIPAG by self imposition.the reason dey are able to do all these without any problem is cos they are the same people who’ll hire dese actors. thats the more reason why i said that dialogue is the best solution to dis issue. yes dese actors are gud but der are others who probably can do better when given the chance. the show of power wouldn’t lead us anywhere. i believe in one thing and dats sanity. ones sanity is thrown over board,der is bound to be problems.
      whatever the case may be, i guess these people can sit down and iron out their differences.

      the fact that Yvonne and Ekow admitted the offences and apologised should tell us they knew what they were doin.

      • if no one was a fan of the knob, and his knock off porn was making losses, common sense tells us he wont be coming back with another. i know you are not his only fan. but you seriously dont need reasons why FIPAG is a sham. and no one was comparing FIPAG to a tv series, if you actually read and understood my comments, it simply means, someone who was part of arguably GH best tv moments should not associate himself with the scum. that dagodfather’s opinion, if you think idikoko will benefit from socratesgo on and make your point.

        • Dagodfather, take easy playa.the fact that they belong to the same association and hold different positions doesn’t mean one must depend or benefit from the other. they both believe they are doing something to safeguard their investments and thats the whole point. the fact that the constitution allows for freedom of association means, you can come up with an association and call on like minded ppl to join once u don’t use it to engage in any illegality.

          i’m not a fan of Socrates and if u go back to the article on Hot Fork, u’ll see where i stand. all i’m saying is dat the ban by FIPAG is not illegal and Socrates is just a PR for the association and not the association. FIPAG doesn’t even include actors (unisex),it’s Film Producers Association of Ghana.

  2. congrats! you have covered every blade of grass in this article. it is disgraceful for a few people, in order to protect their selfish interest and to maintain their undeserved status as producers to use bans as the means of discouraging young and enterprising people form expressing their talents. Any responsible association would have alerted the immigration service to the lack of permits, but no socrates was more interested in preventing better produced films from coming out than ensure compliance with the laws of Ghana. What Fipag is doing will in the end divide the movie front. they should look at what has become of MUSIGA. And as for Socrates ‘Porn’ Safo, his own disgrace is on the way!

  3. Socrate is just 1 useless citizen in ghana..whos he??his movies r just horrible n their titles just disgust me..ban him rather..nonsense

  4. Okay, let me chip in how I THINK FIPAG works. This is my opinion and what I am thinking … Just the extension of my legal knowledge as to how most associations and companies get their legitimacy and operate. 

    1. By registering an association, company or organisation and upon receiving a certificate of its incorporation , the certificate is an indication of its validity or legitimacy. The country’s laws will then recognise such a registered body as legal. So if FIPAG is registered, then it is a legal body or association.

    2. Ghana as most countries has a fundamental law of freedom of association. FIPAG therefore after being formed will call or ask its targeted members to join in.It will surely have benefits which it will outline to those interested, if you join us, we seek to do this and will give you this and that.

    3. So its targets which are those in the movie industry have the freedom to join or not.  Like I said, this is my assumptions. I think FIPAG by now has gotten majority of the key industry players as its members.

    4. So if lets say, Mr A  is not a member of FIPAG but he breaches a law which FIPAG  sees as detrimental to its operation, I think FIPAG can tell its members not to work with Mr A. By virtue of association and membership, the members of FIPAG are legally obliged to abide by FIPAG’s law and sanctions which they might have signed.

    5. Mr A is therefore free to work, but work  with who? FIPAG members will not work with him, so he is to an extend banned…

    Another way I think FIPAG may operate is also along this line, if FIPAG as a legally recognised association has been tasked by the law/gov’t as the association to monitor the way the national laws are being obeyed in the movie industry, which most times comes with a penalty clause, failure to make sure that your members abide by the national laws will attract a fine.

    In this circumstance, FIPAG is legally tasked to make sure the laws are adhere to else will pay a fine. If this is the case, then they may impose sanctions on individuals who are members of their association and breaching the law , or impose sanctions on their members not to work with others who are not part of their association and breaching the laws.

    • Thanks Chris, I was thinking the same. I don’t believe these two men and lady are banned. but what I know is their work will not be accepted in the Ghana movie industry or market. this means they can travel outside ghana and do their work. If any of these men can say they are a member of ECOWAS and so move in to Mali and start shooting movies and selling it in the Mali movie market then that is not against the law of ghana movie industry, but the only thing is their work will not be seen in ghana untill their ban dates has elapse.

    • thats true. so FIPAG though not a gonernment agency has the power to instruct it’s members not to do A or B. the actors in dis case have nothing to do with FIPAG, the only thing is that they work with Producers who are members of FIPAG.

      in dis situation therefore, they can apologise and have the ban squashed or work with other producers who are not FIPAG members. theres a catch here too. this can only work if FIPAG doesn’t have the mandate as the only body of producers in Ghana.

      dialogue once again i say is the way forward not insults.

    • lets start from where you ended. fipag does not have the mandate as the only body of producers in ghana. so other producers can and want to work with these banned performers. the catch however is fipag unfortunately or its members for that matter make up the film and censureship governing board(im not sure i have it right) so if you contravene thier order you wont have your film released. so goes the same if they particularly do not like you.

  5. I agree with the writer entirely cos all these bans are just out of place.How many lead actors/actresses do we even have in Gh.

  6. I really do like dis article n sum comments others thing really now boils down to other organiztions coming out.there needs to be competition to balance things seem there aint other vital organization apart frn FIPAG which gives them more power to throw out there bullshit behaviours whever they feel like.dis jst absolute ludicrous!

  7. in one way i agree with you chris that a bodyis needed to enforce the rules and laws of any organization, but i do  disagree with some other of your argument.remember it is b/c of this issue of enforcement that brought the relationship b/w nigeria and ghana to where it is today.they did not handle it well on both sides .they need matured  and nutral minds to handle this matters fairly.whatever we may hold against one  actor or the other ,we should always  remember that they are humanbeings like us.let us stick to the laws they break and find a.way to deal with it ,rather than their person.let them make their rules and regulation more clear so that their members should know their boundries.punishment for offences should not be ban all the time.

    • i agree with u Aida. this whole thing has brought ma mind on anoda thing which is contract. if the actors are given contracts that states the duration of the shoot, what is expected of them, how they can absent themselves from set and others, we’ll have a brilliant industry. do u think a Hollywood actor like Angelina Jolie with all her money can decide that she wouldn’t come on set on a particular day?? or she’ll leave set whiles shooting is goin on?? no.if she tries, she’ll have her ass sued cos extension of shoot means the producer must cough up more money to pay the crew and stuff. this is whats lackin here.

      our people have allowed fame to get into their heads too much. they’re on set and they wanna leave cos they have anoda appointment…3y3 asem oooo. they should find a way outta dis.

  8. Can somebody educate me the criteria to be a fipag member ?For example i produce my movie and am not part of fipag or the actors guild, can they ban my project ? And is it force to be a member of fipag before you can own a movie production ?


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