One of the top distributors of music in the country Afri Music has suspended buying of local music with immediate effect following Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) suspension of a credit facility which they were privileged with, The Daily Times has learnt.
Afri Music Manager Staneck Kulemero confirmed the development on Monday saying they had stopped buying local music until they address the matter with Cosoma.
"We can't go on with this, Cosoma wrote us that they had suspended a credit facility, this has taken us unawares as it came barely a few days after they submitted invoices to us, we needed to cross-check before making payment," said Kulemero.
He further revealed that they got orders from Lilongwe but Cosoma refused to give them holograms hence they lost business.
"Up to December we have been up to date in payment and for them to suspend the credit facility now we feel they have done injustice to us. We have lost business and in this case artists are the losers as they are being deprived of income," said Kulemero.
But Cosoma's Senior Licensing Officer
Rosario Kamanga said they have been lenient to Afri-Music all these years by offering them a credit facility but they are abusing it.
"As one of the top distributors, we had trust in them by offering them a credit facility but they have not been paying us since. We have been discussing with them to pay us but they have been uncooperative. Let them pay," said Kamanga.
When told that Afri-Music has suspended buying of local music, Kamanga said they were not moved by the decision and that all they wanted was Afri-Music to settle the bill which has been long overdue.
"They have sold some of the items but they are failing to pay us and that money is for our clients who are the artists. Some distributors do not enjoy this credit facility but Afri-Music has been abusing the system hence the suspension until they pay," he said.
Cosoma in their letter dated June 8, 2012 titled Re- Submission of invoices, writes that they were attaching invoices for five months and that this was coming after their last meeting and telephone conversation.
This also came after Cosoma observed the inadequate submission of sales by summary from Afri-Music who had then indicated that the computers were not producing the right figures due to a technical fault.
Cosoma later followed up with a letter dated June 18, titled "Non-payment of debt amounting to MK 9,382,143.00."
In the letter the copyright body says that they have been providing a credit facility to Afri-Music to access holograms which are stamped on artists' works and payment of mechanical rights royalties on the understanding that they would make monthly payments.
However, despite the provision of the credit facility, Cosoma says Afri Music has made not even a single payment since January hence accumulating a debt of over K9 million.
"It is for this reason, therefore, that we regret to inform you that the credit facility for payment of holograms and mechanicals stand suspended pending payment of the debt," reads the letter signed by Licensing manager Mutty Mukhondia.
In the letter, Cosoma has provided stocktaking invoices which have not yet been paid as well as banderoles affixed to foreign works.