Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai has ordered the withdrawal of police from Music Copyright Society of Kenya operations.
This move comes as investigations into the society’s work that led to the payment of peanuts to artists starts.
Mutyambai ordered unit commanders — Deputy Inspector General of Kenya police Edward Mbugua, Noor Gabow of Administration Police Service and Director of Criminal Investigation George Kinoti — to withdraw their personnel from the board saying such operations taint the image of the service.
The society has been hiring police officers to offer security during their operations on matatus, cyber cafes and other private entities to ensure compliance.
In the process, they arrested those believed to be flouting the law and later charged them in courts.
Mutyambai termed some of the operations as extortion.
“I hereby direct that no police officers are authorised to be accompanying Music Copyright staff while performing their operations. This malpractice has been tainting the image of the National Police Service,” said Mutyambai in a letter dated August 28.
A team of detectives has been dispatched to the board offices to investigate its activities in the past years following an outcry from artistes they are not getting a fair share of their money.
This was after the artistes were paid Sh2,500 as royalties, which President Uhuru Kenyatta said indicates that there is a problem in its leadership.
President Kenyatta ordered police to probe organisations that collect money on behalf of musicians to see if they are embezzling the collections.
“The music industry has a problem that needs to be fixed. Recently we were told that an organisation collected around Sh200 million on behalf of musicians and then claimed that they spent 60 per cent of that money as expenses for the collection,” said the President.
"I have ordered the DCI to investigate MCSK to establish whether some people are taking other people’s dues,” he said.
He noted that those who will be found to have embezzled musicians’ money will have to return it.
He also encouraged Members of Parliament to push through an amendment to the copyright laws that is pending in parliament and which is aimed at protecting the interests of artistes.
The President said the Government will move the Music Copyright Board from the Office of the Attorney General to the Ministry of ICT as part of measures to protect musicians from exploitation.
The President said the right Ministry for the copyright board is ICT because that is where it can have the ability to monitor broadcasters, telecoms and other entities that use productions by artistes.
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