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Ghana: Sir David Adjaye, Renowned Architect, Accused of Sexual Assault Against His Employees

The Financial Times reveals that the award-winning Ghanaian-British architect is claimed to have committed abuse over the years

(Johannesburg / Paris, 4 July 2023) – These disclosures were made possible thanks to the courageous whistleblowers who have spoken out for other potential victims, the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) said today.

PPLAAF is supporting the women who have exposed Adjaye’s misconduct. In its article “Sir David Adjaye: the celebrated architect accused of sexual misconduct”, the Financial Times wrote today:

Three women formerly employed by Adjaye, 56, have accused him and his firm of different forms of exploitation — from alleged sexual assault and sexual harassment by him to a toxic work culture — that have gone unchecked for years. The three women say their dealings with Adjaye have disrupted their careers, left them in precarious financial circumstances and caused them serious mental distress”.

According to the Financial Times, Sir David Adjaye denies the accusations.

The stories of the brave women who have spoken out against Adjaye’s abuse indicate that more women may share similar experiences, especially since his behaviour has been regarded as an “open secret”. Standing by these victims and any others who may come forward is essential to stop abuses. 

Women have a right to live in a world where they are not hunted and preyed upon by weak men who equate power with being a predator,” Zanele Mbuyisa, PPLAAF’s Legal Counsel said. “I applaud the bravery of the women who spoke out.”  

According to women accompanied by PPLAAF, Adjaye hired them to be part of his team, including in his new offices in Accra, Ghana. The work environment was, on the whole, toxic. Two of them relocated for positions with Adjaye Associates but were ultimately left stranded with no accommodation or pay and, in some instances, were sexually assaulted. 

In 2018, some of the women, stranded in Ghana with no way out, spoke to Adjaye in hopes that he would resolve their immigration status and financial circumstances.

Following a dinner with Adjaye, two of the women, Gene I. Miles and Maya, went with Adjaye to his corporate apartment for drinks. When they arrived, Adjaye left the women in the living room, reappearing in only a robe. Subsequently, they say that he steered the women towards his bedroom and, stroking and grabbing Maya, attempted to have sexual intercourse with them. 

Gene I. Miles refused but did not want to leave the apartment without Maya, whom Adjaye pulled into his bedroom and onto his bed. According to Maya, Adjaye said: “You’ve just got to do this.” A few minutes later, the women left the bedroom and Gene I. Miles accused Adjaye of abusing his position. The next day, Adjaye met with Maya and is alleged to have given her money – not apologising for nor acknowledging the previous night.  

In September 2021, Maya made a criminal complaint against Adjaye in South Africa following a second case of sexual assault by Adjaye – taking place in a bathroom stall at Johannesburg OR Thambo International Airport – which she had previously tried to report internally. 

One woman, Dunia, claims she had a similar experience with Adjaye. After he had sexually assaulted her in 2019, Dunia explains that “he told me to be a good girl and be quiet.” Dunia continued to work for Adjaye informally and throughout the following months, “she endured a series of controlling and emotionally abusive sexual encounters with him,” the Financial Times wrote. In 2022, Dunia accused Adjaye of sexual misconduct in a legal letter which was dismissed by Adjaye and his lawyers. 

In recent years, numerous revelations have demonstrated that the businesses and institutions of architecture are permeated by abuse, harassment, and exploitation.”, said Charlie Edmonds of Future Architects Front (FAF), a grassroots organisation working to end exploitation in and beyond architecture. “The whistleblowers’ demand for justice must act as a wake-up call for a profession that, through a culture of exploitation and inaction, has long been complicit in systemic violence against marginalised people. The governing bodies, including the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) must act”. 

Experts in coercive control, a phrase used to describe a pattern of manipulative and abusive behaviour, say that undermining and demeaning victims, for example with racial insults or criticism about their appearance, is a classic tactic of perpetrators,” the Financial Times wrote today. 

The women who disclosed their traumatic experiences working with Adjaye are still struggling to put their lives back together. As a consequence of the abuse, Maya experienced “depression and suicidal thoughts.” Gene I. Miles “took years to recover physically and psychologically and is still recovering financially from what transpired in Ghana under the employment of Adjaye.” For Dunia, her career has been completely disrupted and she suffers from “social anxiety and having suicidal thoughts.”

Nonetheless, they are sure that there are other women like them. By telling their stories, they hope to put a stop to these kinds of abuses.  

PPLAAF has been working on supporting the women who blew the whistle in partnership with the Whistleblowers and Journalists’ Safety International Center (WAJSIC) in Ghana.

Images: Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Mark Andre, Wikimedia Commons, David Borland-VIEW / Alamy Stock Photo

If you, or anyone you know, has suffered the same misconduct please contact PPLAAF at

PPLAAF is a non-governmental organisation established in 2017 to protect whistleblowers, as well as to advocate and engage in strategic litigation on their behalf when their revelations deal with the general interests of African citizens.

For more information on PPLAAF, please visit:

PPLAAF’s website: 


Twitter: @pplaaf


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