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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Who is behind Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) woes?


Written by Cate Mukei — The war to control musicians’ royalties has now moved to court.

In a strange twist of events, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) officials led by the CEO Maurice Okoth are facing an uphill battle from shadowy characters who want a piece of the pie from online publishing platforms like ‘Skiza Tunes’.

MCSK has stuck to its guns and is demanding for the monies to be paid to their members through their organisation, which seems not to go well with the cartel that has been controlling the distribution.

To fend off MCSK from the cash estimated to be around Sh100 million a month, they have instigated legal disputes.

Trouble at MCSK started in September when the Divisional Criminal Investigation Officer sought permission to investigate MCSK.

“Sermons were issued to Maurice Okoth in September so that he could explain ongoing allegations of misappropriation of funds. In October, Maurice was arrested and taken to Muthaiga Police Station. Details on the cash bail document indicate he was being charged for the offence of theft by servant.

Ironically, this charge can only be implemented if MCSK is the one which had taken Maurice Okoth to court,” MCSK’s lawyer Conrad Maloba said during a press conference.

MCSK has been accused of withdrawing Sh6 million irregularly, but Maurice claims there are records accounting for the money which was used to pay members.

“MCSK has been declared an illegal entity by the Director of Public Prosecutions despite getting a letter from the office of the Attorney-General to prove our legitimacy and authority to collect money on behalf of artistes,” Okoth said.

Although the police claim that the complaints have been made by the State, MCSK’s chairman Benard Mukaisi is convinced that their woes have emanated from their ongoing war with malicious members sponsored by people behind the ‘Skiza Tune’ deals.

“The current tribulations facing the society and its officials are directly attributable to our achievements at securing lucrative deals on behalf of members, more particularly the recent ‘Skiza Tune’ deal,” he said.

Currently, four of the MCSK accounts have been frozen.

Afro-fusion musician Achieng’ Abura has lauded the government through the office of the DPP for the “bold move taken against the MCSK leadership.”

“It has been the bane of musicians that has left artistes suffering as a few enrich themselves to a level that is truly despicable.

They are truly slippery fellas, so I hope the DPP will ensure artistes get justice. The government has finally done its part and taken to task those who collect money ‘on behalf of music artistes’,”read part of her Facebook status update.

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