• September 18, 2020

    WHAT THE LAW SAYS ABOUT GHAMRO: A TIME FOR REFLECTION?

    Kwabena Frimpong Mensah Esq and Adwoa E Paintsil Esq*** “(a) to represent and protect the professional, economic, moral and other interests of authors of literary, musical, artistic, dramatic and other works.(b) to serve as a collecting society for the collective administration of copyright of the members of the Society.” Under LI 1527 a board comprising persons in the various sectors of the creative arts industry including artistes was established for the administration of copyright in Ghana.[2] The functions[3] of the board included the following; (a) to administer on an exclusive basis within Ghana and elsewhere by means of reciprocal agreements, all rights relating to public performances, mechanical and reprographic reproduction rights; (b) to act as an intermediary for the conclusion of contracts between authors and users of authors’ works; (c) to receive and record any information from its members in respect of the identification of authors and their works; (d) to charge and collect royalties from the users of authors’ works and pay such royalties to the appropriate authors; (e) to ensure that the conditions attached to the grant of compulsory licenses under sections 21 and 24 of the Copyright Law, 1985 (P.N.D.C.L. 110) are complied with” The work of COSGA was supported by the Copyright Office established under the Ministry of Justice in 1985.[4] In 2005 however, Parliament passed the Copyright Act 2005, Act 690 (hereinafter referred to as Act 690) to bring the provisions on copyright and the Copyright Office in conformity with the Constitution and to provide for other related purposes.With the enactment of the Copyright Act 2005, persons in the creative arts industry were granted the liberty to form associations which would effectively protect their rights and collect on their behalf royalties from their works.[5] This was a deviation from the existing legal set up, previously under LI 1527. Pursuant to the provisions of the Copyright Act 2005, Act 690 the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (hereinafter referred to as GHAMRO) was formed as a company limited by guarantee on 23rd December, 2011 to manage the rights of music owners.[6] At the time of formation, GHAMRO was headed by a 12-member interim board comprising, Carlos Sakyi, Amandzeba Nat Brew, K.K. Kabobo, Mark Okraku Mantey, Kojo Antwi, John Mensah Sarpong, Akwesi Agyepong, Ahmed Banda (Bandex), Bice Osei Kuffour (Obour), Daniel Adjei (Dan Ray), Abebe Kakraba, and Mary Ghansah.[7] The operations of GHAMRO have come under scrutiny in recent years, as complaints have been made by members of the association over unpaid royalties.  GHAMRO has also expressed the challenges it faces with respect to its operation.  Recently speaking at an interview with Happy Fm’s Dr. Can, the current President of GHAMRO, Rex Owusu Marfo, indicated that GHAMRO faced challenges not only with the collection of the royalties, but with distribution, a problem which he claimed was currently being addressed by the organisation.[8]  Matters came to a head when an artiste, by the stage name Ama Rasta, cursed GHAMRO over non-payment of collected royalties.[9] Intrigued by this turn of events the authors have set to write this paper to discuss the economic rights attached to ownership of copyright protected works, […]

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  • August 18, 2020

    TAX APPEALS IN GHANA: “MONETIZING THE RIGHT TO JUSTICE”

    By Bobby Banson Esq. FCIArb[1] INTRODUCTION …’’If we never do anything which has been done before, we shall never act anywhere. The law will stand still whilst the rest of the world goes on and that will be bad for both.’’ LORD DENNING Nations develop on the payment of taxes by citizens and non-residents who are subject to the payment of tax in the countries in which they either reside, derive, or spend their earnings. In Ghana, the State institution in charge of the assessment, collection, collating and assessment of taxes is the Ghana Revenue Authority (“GRA”). GRA’s functions include identifying all taxpayers, assessing tax and levies to be paid , collecting taxes and levies such as Income Tax, Excise Tax Stamp , Mineral Royalties , Value Added Tax (V.A.T) among others. The GRA is headed by the Commissioner-General. The Authority has the mandate to issue tax assessment to taxpayers. As one would expect, not all taxpayers are excited when they are served with tax assessment by the GRA. Thankfully, the law provides a means for dissatisfied tax payers to appeal against the assessment served on them. There are however statutory conditions which must be met before one can appeal against a tax assessment. The purposes of this article is to (a) analyze the various statutory conditions for challenging a tax assessment; and (b) ascertain whether these statutory conditions have the potential to prevent or actually prevents  dissatisfied tax payers from challenging the Commissioner General’s decision on a tax assessment on a further appeal to the High Court. THE REGIME OF TAX ASSESSMENTS The Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) governs the administration and collection of revenue by the GRA. Section 31 of Act 915 provides that: (1) Where a person fails to file a tax return by the due date required by a tax law the Commissioner-General may, for the purpose of section 35, appoint another person to prepare and file any information that the Commissioner-General may require, including information required by the return. (2) The Commissioner-General shall make an assessment of the tax liability of the person as required by the tax law, including by way of adjusted assessment, and for this purpose may use any information in the possession of the Commissioner-General including information obtained under subsection (1). (3) A tax return filed after the due date or in a manner other than that specified in the relevant tax law has no effect on a tax decision of the Commissioner-General, including an assessment made under subsection (2). These tax assessments may be issued at the first instance by either an officer of the GRA or by the Commissioner or confirmed by the Commissioner after the same has been issued by an officer of the GRA. RIGHT OF APPEAL AGAINST TAX ASSESSMENTS As previously discussed, tax assessments are considered as the handiwork of the Commissioner-General – even though in reality, he may not have a direct hand in the raising of these assessments. Section 44 of Act 915 provides that “A person who is dissatisfied with a decision of the Commissioner-General may appeal against the decision to the […]

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  • July 6, 2020

    POWERS OF ATTORNEY- WHAT DOES GHANA LAW SAY?

    by Barbara Ewoenam Afua Kukah Esq[1] 1. Introduction If you’ve ever had to sign legal or financial documents on behalf of a relative or friend or make medical decisions concerning the health of an incapacitated person, likely, you did so as the lawful attorney of that person. The only legal means of acting as a lawful representative of another is if you have been issued with a Power of Attorney.  This article aims to shed light on provisions of the law relating to Powers of Attorney. Emphasis will be placed on the provisions of the Powers of Attorney Act 1998, Act 549 (hereinafter referred to as “Act 549”) which is the enabling act for the regulation of for powers of attorney in Ghana; case law  and the common law. 2. What is a Power of Attorney? A Power of Attorney (PoA) is a document which authorizes a person referred to as a “Donee or Attorney” to act on behalf of another person referred to as the “Donor or Principal”. The person who gives the authority is called the Donor or the Principal while the recipient is called the Donee or Attorney. The terms “Donor” and “Principal” will be used interchangeably in this article, as will the terms “Donee” and “Attorney”. Act 549 does not define a PoA. However, other authorities do this. In the case of Hussey v. Edah, the Supreme Court per Hayfron-Benjamin JSC defines a PoA as “a formal document by which one person, usually called the principal or donor, divests to another, usually called the attorney or donee, authority to represent him or act in his stead or for certain purposes spelt out in the document.”[2] The eminent authors B.J Da Rocha and C.K Lodoh defined a PoA as  “a document by which one person gives to another person authority to act on his behalf and in his name.”[3] They further stated, “the practical purpose of a power of attorney is not only to invest the attorney with power to act for the principal, but also to provide him with a document defining the extent of his authority, which he can produce as evidence to third parties with whom he is to deal. The law authorizes such third parties to inspect this document.[4]” Thus, a PoA serves three main functions. First, it creates the relationship between the Donor and the Donee. Secondly, it sets out the scope of the Donee’s authority and finally serves as proof to third parties that the Donee indeed can contract on behalf of the Donor. Act 549 thus requires that a PoA be a written document that must be executed in the manner prescribed by the Act which shall be examined further in this article.   3. What a Power of Attorney is not Having looked the definition of a PoA, it will be helpful to understand what it is not. First, a PoA is not a contract. The term “contract” is used to refer to an agreement, consisting of exchange of promises, which is recognized by law as giving rise to enforceable rights and obligations.[5] Sir Frederick Pollock also defines a […]

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