More trouble for under fire MCSK as police withdraw security
The Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has withdrawn security services provided to beleaguered Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) during sting operations to enforce compliance.
MCSK, which is facing investigation after paying “peanuts” to local musicians in royalties last month, has been relying on plain-clothed officers from the unit to make arrests in hotels, restaurants, night clubs, and bars as well as taxis and public service vehicles, among others.
But since the royalties drama, Mr Kinoti has stopped that.
“The Director, of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations has directed that from the date of this letter, this directive should take effect immediately, that ‘no Police officer is authorized to accompany any Music Copy-right Staff while performing their operations’,” said the letter sent on August 30 to various bosses of police across the country.
Kinoti’s order comes days after the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, in a letter to Mr Kinoti, warned that the so called sting operations were extortion ventures that tainted police image.
“My office has learnt that members of staff from Music Copyright Society of Kenya have been hiring Police Officers to offer security during their operations and they have been extorting money from members of public and use the Police Officers as bait to demand more money,” said Mr Mutyambai in a letter on August 28.
“In this regard, I hereby direct that no Police Officers are authorized to be accompanying Music Copyright staff while performing their operations. This malpractice has been tainting the name of National Police Service.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta had ordered the DCI and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate MCSK following outcry over low royalties paid to musicians.
The head of state, who spoke during the funeral of Benga musician John Ng’ang’a alias John De’Mathew, directed EACC and DCI to find out if there were any corrupt dealings among institutions mandated to collect royalties on behalf of authors, composers, arrangers and publishers of musical works.
“Na pia kwa copyrights na pia tumeona pia labda huko kuna shida, na jana mimi niliamrisha DCI na watu ya EACC waanze upelezi huko tujuwe kama kuna shida huko ya watu kama wanakula pesa ambayo siyo jasho yao. Na hiyo itafanyika na tumesama tunataka report to be made public, na kama kwa ukweli kuna watu wanakula pesa za wenzao washikwe,” said President Kenyatta.
Following the storm, hoteliers demanded that MCSK be stopped from collecting royalties until the issue of transparency is sorted out.
Operating under the aegis of Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers and the Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak), the hoteliers claimed that MCSK was underquoting the amounts they collect from various stakeholders.
“We are not talking about 200m, we are talking about over a billion. They have been collecting money for the last 10 years,” Frank Mbogo, PERAK Chairman said.