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British man’s dream of creating a new life and business in Africa has turned into a nightmare—-
Written by Jermaine Haughton —-

WAITING IN VAIN: Committed rasta Derek Jones Dythe in Ghana where he has faced obstacles in setting up a business

THE FAMILY of a British man stranded in Ghana are appealing for help to get him home safely.
Londoner Derek Jones Dythe, 50, moved to Akuse in the eastern region of the west African country in 2008 to start a new life.

The former restaurant owner sold all his assets and moved abroad with plans to develop and run his own business.

With £280,000 capital, his plan was to build a 48-room hotel with housing quarters for workers and their family.

Documents seen by The Voice show that his company was legally registered.

Dythe, a committed Rastafarian, chose Ghana due to its spiritual links with his own faith but his dream has fallen apart.

The 50-year-old is now embroiled in a complicated and drawn-out civil court case, which is yet to be concluded, after business dealings with a developer turned sour.

His British passport has also been confiscated by the Ghana Immigration Service, who claim that Dythe is living in the country illegally.


In a letter, officials explained the seizure was a “guarantee that [Dythe] would approach us any time the proceedings were over”.

Now five years on, Dythe’s savings have withered away, due to being a victim of robbery, maintenance costs and lawyer fees, his concerned family has claimed.

His mother, Merlin, 74, told The Voice: “It’s so sad I can’t see my boy. I miss him so much and so does the rest of his family.”

One of Dythe’s nine siblings, Noel, 46, echoed the sentiment, and said he is desperate for his brother to return back to Britain safely.

He said: “It’s brought a lot of stress and pain on us. We can’t go a day without worrying about Derek. It makes me sad just to think about it.

“Having him back safe and sound would be such a great relief.”

Dythe alleges that he has been bullied and abused by both Ghanaian officials and locals who view him as an outsider.

On one occasion, he claims he narrowly escaped after being set upon by six locals.

Merlin said: “I was horrified to hear of how six guys cornered him, trying to beat him up. Luckily he was able to climb a tree and get away.

“I’m an old woman and I have high blood pressure. This sort of thing is killing me. I just want my son back.”

Having also reported attempted poisoning, unfair imprisonment and physical attacks, Derek’s frustration has reached breaking point.

Upon visiting his house in Akuse, there are several inscriptions on the fence wall around his house, reading: “I want justice” and “Please President Atta Mills, I need your help”, a plea to the former Ghanaian head of state, who died last year.

Close friend Derek Drummond, who met Dythe in 1976 on a music course, said: “It’s been such a long, long time and it isn’t right. He’s a strong man, but my heart is broken over his struggle.”

The Voice contacted the Ghanaian High Commission but a spokesperson was unable to comment on the details of the case.

In a letter addressed to the British Embassy in Ghana, Dythe wrote: “I think I had made a lot of enemies. This had not made me feel comfortable in this country. No one is assuring me of my safety, being [poisoned] which was detected in a hospital at Kwahu…all this shows me that I am not wanted here in the country.”

At the time of going to press The Voice was awaiting a comment from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Posted on: 12/05/2013 12:00 PM

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