Keeping Your Business in Mind

MCSK vows to Sue KECOBO over graft claims by Joshua Kutuny

By Antynet Ford

Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has threatened to sue the leadership of the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) over allegations of embezzlement of Shh56 million of royalties collected last year.

MCSK Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua dismissed claims by KECOBO Chairman Joshua Kutuny that they (MCSK) had failed to account for the millions collected last year on behalf of Kenyan artists.

He stated that the claims are wild allegations meant to incite unsuspecting musicians against the entity.

Mutua said he has instructed MCSK lawyers to take legal action against KECOBO for misinformation.

“MCSK takes a very serious view of the wild allegations by KECOBO – which are clearly meant to incite unsuspecting members to think that they have been short-changed. The Board has instructed our lawyers to take up the matter and bring this deliberate misinformation to an end. We assure the culprits that we shall meet in soon.” Mutua stated.

Kutuny had told the media that the disparity in royalties declared by MCSK was flagged during a meeting with the board.

According to Kutuny, KECOBO had invited MCSK and two other licensed music Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) – Music Producers (KAMP) and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) – to account for monies collected in 2023.

During the meeting, the board established that a sum of Ksh249,687,212.80 was collected jointly from January to December 2023.

KECOBO boss noted that MCSK failed to account for Ksh26 million received from the joint collection and another Ksh30 million from other CMOs abroad and Google Ireland.

“While KAMP and PRISK declared a collection of Ksh.249 million and they accounted for Ksh.61 million and Ksh.52.7 million, respectively, MCSK on its part declared receipts of Ksh.109 million representing a shortfall of Ksh26 million.” He said.

Kutuny said the board had handed over the matter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for investigation.

However, Mutua has denied any wrongdoing, insisting that MCSK continues to conduct its mandate transparently.

Mutua said MCSK is currently undertaking royalties distribution to its 16000 members in line with the law and MCSK distribution rules.

Mutua further accused the government of meddling with the affairs of a private entity instead of creating a conducing environment for the collection of royalties.

“There’s a lot of money from other revenue streams like Skiza Tunes, streaming services, and concerts that would benefit artists if the Government provided proper policies for monetization of content. The work of the Government is to provide a conducive environment for private companies like MCSK to thrive. The Government should not meddle with the internal affairs of a private entity.” He added and urged the government to step up compliance efforts.

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