The forensic investigation was conducted to understand the full extent of the problem and the resultant forensic report confirmed that some SAMRO members were indeed fraudulently claiming royalties that did not belong to them.
SAMRO’s primary role is to administer performing rights on behalf of its members – music composers, authors and publishers. It does so by licensing music users (such as television and radio broadcasters, live music venues, retailers, restaurants, promoters and shopping centres), through the collection of license fees which are then distributed as royalties.
“The report, compiled by independent investigators, made certain recommendationsin terms of the steps to be taken with regards to implicated persons. These recommendations were reviewed and supported by yet another independent third party,” says SAMRO Board Chairperson Nicholas Maweni.
“It is clear that certain members have violated the SAMRO Code of Conduct which is very clear in providing that members’ of SAMRO shall not provide false or misleading information in relation to musical works to SAMRO. Also, the same Code of Conduct states that members of SAMRO shall not act dishonestly and/or in bad faith to the prejudice of SAMRO and also members are not to make any intentional or negligent misrepresentation to SAMRO which has the effect of prejudicing SAMRO and/or fellow members and/or prospective members and/or any third party.”
Equally,the investigations point to some weaknesses in internal controls and Managementhas already implemented remedial measures to mitigate against such occurrencesin the future.
Following the ongoing deliberations by the Board, the forensic report was presented to SAMRO members on 07 December 2023. As SAMRO’s primary stakeholders, the organisation’s members were given a chance to engage with the organisation about the forensic investigation report.
“I would like to make it very clear that SAMRO has zero tolerance for fraud – one cent stolen is one cent too many. Anyone caught trying tocommit such fraud-related offenses at SAMRO will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We remain adamant about stamping out any forms of criminality within the organisation.”
“As part of the recommendations by the forensic investigators, theBoard welcomes the appointment of more independent non-executive directors toimprove good governance at SAMRO,” says Maweni.
He explains that the case has been handed over for investigation to the South African Police Service. SAMRO will continue to collaborate and cooperate with the ongoing investigation, which could potentially result incriminal and civil charges being laid against implicated members.