Music Copyright Society boss faces two Sh52m graft cases

The chief executive of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) was Tuesday charged with conspiring to defraud his employer of Sh27 million.

Dan Maurice Okoth faced a separate charge of stealing Sh25 million from the MCSK.

He was charged alongside a director, James Maweu, who separately denied stealing Sh6 million from the employer.

Mr Okoth was charged along with Peter Kisala, Lilian Njoki, Shamilla Kiptoo and Suleiman Kiptoo.They are alleged to have committed the offences between July 1, 2013, and October 30, 2014.

Mr Okoth allegedly stole the Sh25 million on October 18, 2014, at African Banking Corporation Ltd’s Westlands Branch, Nairobi, jointly with “others not before court.”

The prosecution said Mr Maweu stole the money on or before April 30, 2015, at the Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd in Nairobi. They were released on Sh500,000 bond each and hearing set for early next year.

The MCSK is licensed by the Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) and is mandated to collect royalties on behalf of more than 5,000 local musicians.

The royalty fees is generated from music played in matatus, entertainment spots, concert promoters, taxis, value added service providers (ring tones) and cyber cafes.

In 2012, the MSCK introduced a new mechanism of charging for the loyalties which has seen broadcasters pay a portion of their net revenues as royalties on music they play.

Broadcasters currently pay seven per cent of their net revenue, a shift from previous flat rates paid annually, while mobile operators would pay five per cent of earnings generated through music as a performing rights directly to the MCSK.

The society previously charged c broadcasters Sh288, 000 on each radio frequency and Sh864, 000 for television stations annually.

This has helped shoe up its revenue. In the period ended June 2014, the MSCK collected S26 million compared to Sh273 million in the same period 2013.