Wherever Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh comes, he proudly introduces himself as the President of the Ghana Readers Club. But what kind of entity is this, what role does it play in public life in Ghana, and is Addeah Prempeh really the acting President as he claims?
When his Dutch host summoned Addeah to pay his outstanding bill, Addeah showed him a hardcopy of this article in Ghanaian newspaper Daily Graphic, dated August 29, 2017. His host asked: “Why do you show me this article; what is your message? That you don’t have to pay your bill because you’re the President of the Ghana Readers Club and therefore are entitled to have things your way?”
The anecdote illustrates not just Addeah’s strong sense of entitlement, but also how important the Ghana Readers Club is for his alleged reputation.
MEDIA ABOUT THE GHANA READERS CLUB
The Daily Graphic article describes a reading clinic for students and pupils, organized in August 2017 by the Ghana Readers Club. The article says the Ghana Readers Club was instituted by the Ghana Library Authority “as a conduit for promotion of reading and creative writing.” The inset picture shows organizer Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh, holding a reading report containing a 5-year plan.
The opening ceremony of the reading clinic was attended by Rebecca Akita, the then acting Executive Director of the Ghana Library Authority. Chair of the event was Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, a Member of Parliament and the eldest daughter of former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings. Present as a guest of honour was Ron Strikker, the Dutch ambassador to Ghana. Another speaker was Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the mayor of Accra. Our swindler was able to arrange a real VIP line-up!
Modern Ghana also published an article about the event. The news website reports: “Mr. Prempeh said the week celebration was the first in a series of events for the next five years. He said they would organize similar events in all regions and urged teachers and parents to get ready to welcome the team. He also appealed to their regular donors and stakeholders to support their efforts to sustain the programme.”
Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings addresses the August 2017 event of the Ghana Readers Club. Seated on the right are Dutch ambassador Ron Strikker and Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh. (source)
On the website of Dutch NGO Quest For Wisdom Foundation, webarchive date 29 May 2019, Addeah describes his role in the Ghana Readers Club as follows:
“In 2012 I was voted into office by an overwhelming majority to become the President of the Ghana Readers Club, a Club that is responsible for all matters concerning reading in Ghana and is under the Ghana Library Authority and the Ministry of Education in Ghana. I am still the President of the Ghana Readers Club, and it is my hope that at the end of my Presidency, I would be remembered as the President who had a blend to bring the importance of reading to every home in Ghana and took the reality of the Ghanaian story and culture to the world, especially at a time that Ghana is preparing to celebrate her 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Ghana Library Authority which saw the beginning of Library activities in Ghana.”
This gives the impression that the Ghana Readers Club is an important, visible entity, that actively promotes reading in Ghana, impacting many people. But is this true?
A Google search on “Ghana Readers Club” quickly shows that the Club has no web presence. The only relevant material we found are the two above mentioned media articles covering the opening ceremony of the reading clinics. That’s it. So we decided to investigate further.
AUTHORITIES ABOUT THE GHANA READERS CLUB
First we asked Ron Strikker, the Dutch ambassador to Ghana who gave an address at the August 2017 meeting of the Ghana Readers Club, about his take on things. We also asked him if it’s true that the Dutch embassy sponsored the event. On June 24, 2019, he responded:
“I have the impression that the Ghana Readers Club mainly exists in Mr. Prempeh’s world. Apart from himself, I don’t think there are any members. His most visible and only activity as acting President of the Club was a meeting in August 2017 where I was invited to speak. After this event he showed his face here and there, and of course posed on some pictures, but nothing of any relevance. In short, I don’t think the GRC has any official status. This embassy never provided [financial] support to the GRC.”
As Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh also claims he’s an award-winning best-selling author in Ghana, we thought it would make sense to contact the Ghana Association of Writers. Do they know Addeah or the Ghana Readers Club? It didn’t ring a bell with the Association’s Administrator. He replied: “What is happening in the literary domain in Ghana at the moment is that since we instituted the first Book Festival in 2011 to promote reading, groups and individuals have come up with fragmented reading projects.” Another organization we contacted, the Ghana Readers Association, also was not aware of Addeah Prempeh or the Ghana Readers Club. Finally, the Writers Project of Ghana, who has been working with Ghanaian writers since 2010 and should be in the know, never heard of the Ghana Readers Club and suspected it might be a local initiative.
Of course we also contacted the Ghana Library Authority. Executive Director Hayford Siaw, confirmed that the Ghana Readers Club is an initiative of the Ghana Library Authority and that Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh was the President for some time. “However,” he said:
“Last year , it was dissolved to facilitate a reorganization. Mr. Prempeh no longer has any authority to act on our behalf. For more than two years the Readers Club has been inactive. Late last year, the executive team was dissolved. The Executive’s term of office had also expired. The Accra Central Library is now reorganizing the Readers Club and going through a process to select new executives after my directive.”
What does he think of Addeah Prempeh’s claims on the Quest for Wisdom Foundation’s website?
“Addeah exaggerates a little bit. The club was inactive. His term of office was only for two years and it had long expired. […] When I assumed office, I had several discussions with him and other purported personalities who had been serving as executives of the club. As a result of these meetings, and because the club was inactive, we sent them letters to dissolve the club. With the exception of that one event in 2017, there’s nothing the club did to promote reading. […] I confronted him to desist from using our name in any form.”
Mr. Siaw also confirmed that Addeah’s statement that the Ghana Readers Club falls under the Ministry of Education is not true.
“The Readers Club is in no way associated with the Ministry of Education. It is not even a registered entity. It is a voluntary group by Library Authority members to support the promotion of reading.”
The Ghana Library Authority announced that they will conduct their own investigation into the alleged scam and Prempeh’s role as President of the Ghana Readers Club.
The Ghana Readers Club is not an official entity. From 2013 until late 2018 it was a volunteer project of the Ghana Library Authority. Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh acted as its President and announced he had ambitious goals and plans, but he never accomplished anything substantial. Under his leadership the Club has been largely inactive, apart from a single event in August 2017. Other organizations for writers and readers in Ghana stated they never heard of him or his Club. To allow for a reorganization, the Library Authority demanded that the Club would be dissolved. Although Addeah was no longer in an executive role, he still continued to present himself as the President of the Ghana Readers Club to gain trust with people, whom he then abused.
How exactly he did this, and how he also involved a speaker of the 2017 Ghana Readers Club event in his schemes, is the topic of this article. Another article describes how he also scammed the chair of the event.