July 22, 2024

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has raised concerns over the Ghanaian government’s decision to transfer the management of the iconic W.E.B. Du Bois Centre to a private foundation for a period of 50 years.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Centre, a globally recognized institution located in the prime Cantonments area of Accra, is at the heart of a controversial agreement signed by the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The deal, he noted, grants the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation Ghana LBG, a recently incorporated entity with no significant track record, complete control over the centre’s operations.

According to Ablakwa, the agreement was signed in a disturbingly opaque process, without competitive bidding, on September 22, 2023, by Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and Ghana’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame.

The foundation, represented by Japhet Aryiku and Humphrey A-Dake, is expected to raise an initial US$15 million within two years to modernize the centre.

However, the foundation’s financial history, according to the MP, raises questions about its capacity to manage such a significant cultural and historical site, having never raised revenues beyond US$315,000.00 in the United States.

“Further parliamentary oversight reveals that the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation Ghana LBG was incorporated in Ghana on August 31, 2021. Japhet Aryiku and Humphrey Darke-Ayim are documented as the beneficial owners. Interestingly, the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation, USA, was incorporated in the State of Delaware on December 12, 2019. They claim to have a New York office. The foundation’s filing number is 7755436 and EIN: 84-4028962.

“An assessment of their annual nonprofit tax filings in the US since incorporation shows that the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation, USA, has never raised total revenues beyond US$315,000.00. Their current total assets amount to only US$396,000.00. That notwithstanding, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Government believes this foundation is suddenly capable of raising some US$34 million to invest in so-called modernization of the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre. Something the promoters have not done anywhere before this sweetheart deal,” he noted.

He highlighted some key details in the deal, which he emphasized were questionable.

“Under the 50-year agreement, the foundation will appoint a majority of 6 board of directors while the Government of Ghana appoints only 3. The foundation will also appoint the board chairman, giving them absolute control. The bizarre agreement also ensures that only 2 Government of Ghana nominees will have top management positions as the foundation enjoys an unlimited number.

“It is particularly incredulous that under the sleazy agreement, the foundation will take possession of the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre and have a 2-year period to raise an initial US$15 million. This sweetheart deal smacks of yet another dubious work and pay arrangement. It remains a mystery why the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has failed to present this agreement to Parliament for scrutiny,” he said.

He stressed that the deal undermines the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, a prominent figure in black liberation and civil rights, who chose Ghanaian citizenship to assist Kwame Nkrumah in the nation’s post-independence reconstruction, and that the centre serves as a pilgrimage site for Africans in the diaspora and scholars worldwide, honouring Du Bois’s memory and contributions.

Ablakwa revealed that the Minority in Parliament plans to summon the foreign minister and attorney-general to explain the rationale behind what he described as an “international embarrassment” and “monumental desecration.” The Minority’s demands, according to him, include parliamentary scrutiny and ratification, as required by Ghana’s Constitution, which he emphasized has been bypassed in the agreement.

The North Tongu MP has recently been on a crusade against what he says is a deliberate state capture attempt by the current government and its members.

Read his full post below:

UNENDING BATTLE AGAINST STATE CAPTURE— RESISTING THE AKUFO-ADDO/BAWUMIA DUBIOUS, CRONY AND SACRILEGIOUS 50-YEAR HAND OVER OF GHANA’S ICONIC W.E.B. DU BOIS CENTRE

It appears there are no sacred groves for the perpetrators of the Government of Ghana’s mindless State Capture.

The latest unbelievable victim is the iconic and globally renowned W.E.B. Du Bois Centre located in the prime Cantonments area of the national capital.
The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has under disturbingly opaque and uncompetitive circumstances signed a crony agreement to hand over Ghana’s internationally acclaimed W.E.B. Du Bois Centre to a recently incorporated foundation.

This foundation with no significant track record will under the unconscionable agreement control and manage the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre for an incredible 50 years. Yes, you read right— 50 years!

The W.E.B. Du Bois Centre will now be managed and totally controlled by a private entity known as the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation Ghana LBG.

The transfer agreement was signed by Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and Ghana’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Hon. Godfred Yeboah Dame — both representing the Government of Ghana. They signed the transfer agreement on September 22, 2023.

The other parties at the receiving end of this apparent sweetheart agreement are Japhet Aryiku and Deborah Rose who signed for the Museum Foundation New York, and Japhet Aryiku and Humphrey A-Dake also signing for Museum Foundation Ghana.

Japhet Aryiku describes himself on his foundation’s website amongst others as a Chase retiree and a philanthropist. He is the Executive Director of the foundation.

Further parliamentary oversight reveals that the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation Ghana LBG was incorporated in Ghana on 31st August, 2021. Japhet Aryiku and Humphrey Darke-Ayim are documented as the beneficial owners.

Interestingly, the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation, USA was incorporated in the State of Delaware on December 12, 2019. They claim to have a New York office. The foundation’s filing number is 7755436 and EIN: 84-4028962.

An assessment of their annual nonprofit tax filings in the US since incorporation show that the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation, USA has never raised total revenues beyond US$315,000.00. Their current total assets amount to only US$396,000.00.

That notwithstanding, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Government believes this foundation is suddenly capable of raising some U$34million to invest in so-called modernization of the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre. Something the promoters have not done anywhere before this sweetheart deal.

It is most shocking that the Government of Ghana would be comfortable with this lopsided agreement.

Under the 50-year agreement, the foundation will appoint a majority of 6 board of directors while the Government of Ghana appoints only 3.
The foundation will also appoint the board chairman giving them absolute control.

The bizarre agreement also ensures that only 2 Government of Ghana nominees will have top management positions as the foundation enjoys an unlimited number.
It is particularly incredulous that under the sleazy agreement, the foundation will take possession of the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre and have a 2-year period to raise an initial US$15million. This sweetheart deal smacks of yet another dubious work and pay arrangement.

It remains a mystery why the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has failed to present this agreement to Parliament for scrutiny.

Without parliamentary scrutiny and ratification of the scandalous agreement, the new managers are readying to take over instructing all vendors and clients at the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre to immediately vacate the premises.

Considering the towering global legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois and what his exceptional academic laurels, black liberation accomplishments and his inspirational sacrifices for Ghana when he abandoned his US citizenship and took up Ghanaian citizenship to help Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah in our national reconstruction after independence, why will any Government of Ghana relinquish control over such a priceless and sacred place which is one of the few unique spaces representing the soul of our nation?

Many Africans in the diaspora and scholars from all over the world embark on unforgettable journeys to Ghana for a special pilgrimage, and to honour the memory of the first black doctorate graduate from Harvard and a founding father of the civil rights movement when they arrive at the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre in Accra.

This latest State Capture transcends land looting, it is a grave assault and a desecration of our heritage, our African pride, our collective struggles and everything we represent to the global community.

This marauding government ought to understand in clear terms that there are some sacred groves they cannot mess around with with their insatiable greed.
Government cannot tell us it’s engaged in this desecration because they are broke — they found US$58.1million to dig the world’s most expensive pit at the same time they were negotiating with Mr. Aryiku and Mr. Darke-Ayim.

In any case, what has government done with all the revenues the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre has generated all these decades?

All true Pan Africanists must rise and resist this abomination.
The Minority Caucus in Parliament is resolved to in the next few days summon the Foreign Minister and Attorney-General to Parliament to explain the rationale for this international embarrassment, monumental desecration and why they are enforcing such a sacrilegious agreement without parliamentary scrutiny and ratification as Ghana’s Constitution requires.

The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia regime has been relentless with their pathetic and fruitless onslaught on Nkrumah’s unmatched legacy, which was once again exhibited by their incurably uncouth Running Mate in Kumasi yesterday when he preposterously claimed Akufo-Addo has done more for Ghana than Nkrumah — but we say, enough is enough!

We shall not sit idly by and lose our famed W.E.B. Du Bois Centre for 50 good years — who knows, we may never ever get it back.

State Capture shall surely be defeated!

For God and Country.

Ghana First

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