Former Regional President of ARSRC and Celebrated Playwright Chief Moomen has debunked claims by the chairperson of the Ghana@60 celebration planning committee that the Ghc213, 000 budget to stage a WogbeJeke play is whopping and excessive.
In two separate posts on Facebook, Chief Moomen expressed displeasure with the situation.
In a statement signed by the chairman of the committee, Ken Amankwah said: “I reminded him of our earlier discussions when he delivered his budget. There was the understanding that his budget was not a fait accompli. The Committee was entitled to sanitize and prune it down to reasonable amounts. He never came back for the budget hearing.
“Chief Moomen was a young man in a hurry. Before we could examine the details in his budget, he had mounted the stage and the musical was performed without an agreed contract.”
Read Chief Moomen’s full statement below:
“Now that the Chairman of the Committee has issued a response to my entreaties, I am now at liberty to put out the facts of the case. And I shall respond to his claims in greater detail.
“He Claims our 213,000ghc budget to stage a WogbeJeke is whopping and excessive (The agreed amount was actually 200,000ghc). By whose standards? We produced a 2hr 30mins production with a cast and crew of 170 people. This was inclusive of all related production and technical costs- remunerations, rehearsals, sound, lights, set, props etc. The only thing we were given is the venue (which is actually the Conference Center and not the Banquet Hall as he claims). Our remunerations budget alone was over 100,00ghc (eg. @ an average of 500ghc*150 people= 75,000. @ 2000ghc to 5000ghc to directors of various units of the production= 35,000. Our technical costs averaging 20,000ghc and other costs like rehearsals, refreshment, transportation, props, costumes, etc averaging 20,000ghc.
“I will usually have to spend about 150 to 160,000ghc on every production period. So 200,00ghc charge for WogbeJeke is in no way excessive. Sir did you know Umoja charges 50,000 dollars for a performance of about 30 people and you still have to pay for all their technical costs. If I’m even to pay my cast and crew what they reasonably deserve for all the work they put into this, 300,000ghc will be my rate.
He claims, “Chief Moomen is a young man in a hurry. Before we could examine the details of his budget, he had mounted the stage and the musical were performed without an agreed contract.” That is quite a curious claim. So on what basis was WogbeJeke advertised on radio, television, newspapers and social media as part of the official programme for the anniversary? On what basis were invitations sent out to people, including the Vice-President and Council of State, to come to the Conference Center on Friday 3rd March 2017 at 6 pm to watch the production? On what basis was the first 100,000ghc given to me for the programme? Yes, I was not given a written contract, and I believe that no service provider for the anniversary celebrations was given one either. I , however, presented an invoice of 200,000ghc and a receipt covering the receipt of the first 100,000ghc.
He again claims, “But the moonshine of his presentation was the ruse that he had never been paid.” Now that is plainly not true. In my Facebook post and in all my interviews I have always indicated that I was given half of the payment.
According to the Chairman, our budget is excessive because ten years ago, my own beloved lecturer Prof Martin Owusu put up plays for the 50th-anniversary celebrations and didn’t charge that much. I won’t even bother to respond. It’s like walking into a boutique to buy a shirt and being told that it costs 200ghc only for you to claim that amount is excessive because you came to the shop ten years ago to buy a shirt that costs 20ghc.
He claims I was supposed to come for a budget hearing and I never turned up. That is also not true. I have availed myself to every single meeting that was required of me. Even after the performance, I have made several attempts to secure meetings. In fact, I have been to the seat of government these past months more than I have done in my entire life.
For the past four months I’ve been following up on this issue in what has been a really frustrating process. I have reached out to many people to intervene on our behalf with no results.
My business indeed has been gravely affected. I finished my March shows with an amount of 56,000 to pay out which I have been trying to do. This debt has made it difficult for me to invest in my operations. I canceled my show in April because of the debts and was at the verge of cancelling my July show too.
My angst and frustrations is very real sir. I’m in no way out of the woods. You may not care, but please don’t describe my sentiments as “a contrived tearjerker”.