Equity Bank is now locked in a copyright case with first year Daystar University student Erick Nyadida, who claims that he composed and produced the Wings to Fly programme theme song.
According to court papers seen by Kahawa Tungu, in 2013 while Nyadida was 16 years his manager John Kennedy secured a “contract” with Equity Bank to produce a song to be used in their Wings to Fly programme.
“I produced the song and presented to Equity Bank. During this process I was in contact with several managers from the communications department and also got a chance to meet with the CEO Dr James Mwangi. After meeting with the CEO I was sent to the communications manager (Edward Muchai) by his secretary where I was to sing a contract for the copyrights of the song, a contract worth Ksh10 million .
Being a minor I could not legally sign a contract, so I was asked to return the next day with my parent to countersign the contact. That same evening after my meeting with the managers , I received a call from a representative of Equity Bank by the name Mary Njoki who asked me to check my email for a document that she had sent and I was asked not to come for the meeting as agreed. She also told me that a contract would be sent to me in a few days but since my fan base was not big enough the contract amount had been reduced to Ksh2.5 million. The scanned document that was attached to the email had a number of discrepancies and made no sense. At this time I was still in high school (form two),” narrates Nyadida.
What looked like a breakthrough however would make him and his elder brother face trial for crimes they had not committed.
Nyadida avers that he rejected the revised offer. This was the start of confusion, as Nyadida did not have a copy of the contract. When he signed the contract, Muchai kept the only copy of the contract that was available.
The artist was expecting the first payment in July 2014, which never happened hence prompting a follow up by his brother.
“When all this started my brother decided to follow up the matter. He was invited to a boardroom meeting where all the four communication managers were present, the environment was very hostile. All the managers claimed that although they knew me, they were only mentoring me. One manager claims, in his statement, that I approached him in his office, forced him to listen to a CD with songs that I wanted Equity Bank to produce and market.
During the meeting my brother was asked if he believed that the managers were only mentors, when he openly said he did not believe them, the senior communications manager instructed the head of security to escort him to the basement and hold him there until I produced the source of the document, yet he was only inquiring why the document had discrepancies. The email had since been hacked and deleted,” narrates Nyadida.
The two brothers would later be prosecuted for forgery, but would later be acquitted for lack of evidence.
“The variance of the prosecution evidence did no support the prosecution charges. In the upshot I find hat the prosecution case has not been proved to the required statements as required. I hereby grant accused 1 and 2 the benefit of doubt acquits on all charges,” said senior principal magistrate M M Mutuku, who presided the case.
The bank is said to be still using the song, even as Nyadida goes to court to seek justice for what is rightfully his.