Musos accused of looting Samro

Lawyers seek judgment to recoup funds

Veteran musicians Sipho Mabuse, Sibongile Khumalo, Loyiso Bala and Arthur Mafokate are accused of unlawfully enriching themselves with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro’s) money after they allegedly collectively overpaid themselves by more than R1.6-million.

Other people accused of the same caper include actress Relebogile Mabotja, Mandoza’s producer Gabi le Roux, businessmen Jack Jeremiah Mnisi and Rowlin Naicker, and composers Jordaan Niemand, John Edmond and Jeanette Zaidel-Rudolph.

Samro was established to collect and disburse royalties on behalf of recording artists in SA.

Sibongile Khumalo

The shocking details are contained in court papers filed by Samro lawyers Terina Singh Attorneys, in the Joburg High Court last month, in which they are applying for judgment against the alleged culprits.

In the papers seen by Sunday World, Samro said the alleged culprits were appointed Samro’s non-executive directors about two years ago and were supposed to be remunerated for their fiduciary duties.

The organisation said its members passed a resolution at its annual general meeting (AGM) on November 25 2016 that the remuneration to be paid to the directors of the organisation for the financial year ending June 30 2017 and the period thereafter until the conclusion of the AGM in December 2018, was to be a total of more than R3.6-million.

John Edmond

But the personalities allegedly overpaid themselves by more than R1.6 million meaning they collectively paid themselves a total of over R5-million in at least two years.

Samro said Khumalo was overpaid by R312 000, Mabuse R171 000, Mabotja R133 000, Bala R126 000, Naicker R132 000, Edmond R162 000, Mnisi R171 000, Le Roux R144 000, Niemand R100 000, Zaidel-Rudolph R112 000 and Mafokate R84 000.

Samro said the payments were made under the pretext that they were owed for attending meetings that were not authorised by the organisation’s members.

“The defendants breached their fiduciary duties in that they didn’t act in good faith and have put themselves in a position where their personal interests conflicted with their duties. Despite a request to members to ratify this over-payment made in excess of the defendants’
authority, the members did not pass such a resolution or otherwise agree to the over-payment made by the defendants in excess of their authority.

Arthur Mafokate

“Each of the defendants have been enriched by the payments in the amounts as set out above, which were received and appropriated by them, in excess of the total amount of directors’ fees authorised,” reads the papers.

Samro said it had ordered the personalities to pay back the money but they refused or failed to do so.

Rowlin Naicker

Mafokate and Khumalo declined to comment, while others could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print. Terina Singh of Terina Singh Attorneys said she would respond next week to written questions sent by Sunday World.

By Ngwako Malatji

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