Salax Awards saga to go to court

Ahmed Pacifique (L) gives one of the winners of Salax Awards Bruce Melody, a dummy cheque of over Rwf1 million at the event. Courtesy.

On April 1st 2019, Salax Awards were held again after a three-year pause. Various artistes won cash prizes. However, five months after the awards were held, the winners have not yet received their money.

Star Times, the sponsor of the event, said they have done their part, and are considering legal action.

Vlady Terimbere, Star Times’ Marketing, and Public Relations Manager, said that they are trying to look into the issue. “We care about the issue, and are committed to solve it. We, as Star Times, shall continue to support our local music industry, sports and the youth”, he added.

“We are considering legal action because we as sponsors did our job. We gave the money to the organisers. We do not understand why the artistes have not been paid yet,” Terimbere added.

Previously, Ahmed Pacifique, the CEO Ahupa Discount Cards Ltd, the organisers of the awards, had told The New Times, that the winners of the 7th edition of Salax Awards would get paid in June, this year.

“We are still working with Star Times on the payments, and we will pay them soon”, he told The New Times, about the current issue.

Pacifique added that Ahupa Discount Cards held a meeting with the artistes, and Rwanda Music Federation, where they discussed about the payments, and that some artistes were already given part of the amount.

 “We had to deduct 3 per cent tax from Rwf6 million for all the winners. We then had to deduct 15 per cent from each artiste’s cash prize before giving it to them”, Pacifique claimed.

What the winners say

Bruce Melody, who scooped three categories; Best R&B Artiste, Best Male Artiste, and Best Artiste of the Year, said: “We attended the meeting, where we were promised that we would be paid soon, but they have not paid us yet.”  

Queen Cha, who took the Best Female Artiste award, said she is also yet to get paid. “We’re still waiting for our cash prizes. It has taken forever, but it will probably come through, because that’s what the organisers are promising us.”

Meanwhile, Uncle Austin, who walked away with the award for Best Afro Beat artiste, received part of the payment. “I do not know how they did it, but I was given only 75 per cent of the cash prize. I was not told when I would get the balance. We’re just wanting.”

Jean-Marie Mukasa, a Manager at New Level, one of the music labels whose artistes participated in the awards, expressed his concern over the payments. “The event planners held talks with the artists and said they needed to deduct 15 per cent for tax, which is not right, because it is an award. Some artists agreed to this but have not got the money.”

Clément Ishimwe, the boss of Kina Music, said that the organisers already had issues planning of the event. “There were several issues regarding the preparations, and we tried to point them out to the organisers. It was quite obvious that they weren’t ready to   organise  the show, but they decided to go ahead and host it.”

editor@newtimesrwanda.com