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Safaricom clears the air on Sh152m Skiza Tunes cash – Video

Mobile service provider Safaricom has come out to clarify its position in the Skiza tunes saga, saying they are ready to pay sh 152 million owed to artistes since July 2015 due to a pending court case.

The funds, which were to be paid to the artistes through their Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) have not been released and a ruling on the case is expected on Friday, 15th April 2016.

Mid last year, the three CMOs; Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Performers’ Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and the Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), entered into an agreement with Safaricom that would see a change from the previous arrangement where artistes were paid through private firms.

This faced stiff opposition from a section of artistes who moved to court to compel the telecommunications giant to pay them directly as opposed to channeling the funds through the CMOs.

“Unfortunately, as soon as we signed that agreement, which would have allowed payments to flow directly to the CMOs, an injunction was filed to stop the payments and because of that we have been unable to issue the money,” said Stephen Chege, the Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom.

COURT ORDER

Mr Chege further explained that all records of the downloads through the Skiza platform are available to artistes, saying this is how the current Sh152 million owed was arrived at.

“Today as we speak, Safaricom is ready and willing to pay the artistes through the CMOs but unfortunately we can’t because apart from the initial injunction, a further injunction was obtained by two artistes,” he said.

At some point, as the matter was before the High Court, Safaricom sought approval from all the parties including artistes and CMOs and after weeks of consultations a consent was filed in court sanctioning some of the money to be paid out.

“However, when this happened, another court injunction was slapped on Safaricom stopping us from paying any of the monies,” continued Mr. Chege.

The telecommunication giant has assured artistes that come Friday, it will comply with the court’s ruling and make payments as directed.

“We have been ready to make payments for a long time now so as soon as the court order is released we shall have our lawyers advise us how to make the payments. Our intention has always been to see to it that the artistes benefit from the platform (Skiza),” he concluded.