Rebuttal – ‘Too Much Money With CMOs, Nothing In Pockets of Rights Owners’ -AVRS

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Our attention in the Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) has been drawn to a report captioned “Too Much Money With CMOs, Nothing In Pockets of Rights Owners” recently published in New Dawn Nigeria, an online medium, and currently circulating in various online platforms.

 

In the report, Audiovisual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) is listed among CMOs in Nigeria that have “collected a total sum of N1.5b as royalties/licensing fees from right users” and “distributed N238.1m to the right owners” between January 2017 and December 2018. In precise terms, the report states that within the period, AVRS “raked in N7.5m as licensing fees and N53.1m from other sources of income out of which it spent N58.5m while it got nothing as royalty and equally distributed nothing to its members.” Furthermore, the report states that the CMOs all “spent above the mandatory 30% of their revenue which they are allowed by the law establishing them to spend out of what they collected for running cost and other administrative expenses.”

 

For the records, we wish to state categorically that the foregoing figures as contained in the report are false and misleading. AVRS never received a dime either as licensing fees or royalties within the period. In other words, no ‘revenue’ accrued to the Company in the context of income as said in the report, to which the regulatory provision of 30% spending limit could apply. It is on record that the only financial inflow to AVRS at the period came from the funding support it received from the Norwegian Copyright Development Organization (NORCODE) and Innovative Distribution Fund (IDF) from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria following its successful application to those organizations. The funds received from NORCODE and IDF were for the specific purposes of infrastructure expansion and advocacy including stakeholder engagements to engender copyright compliance. The use of the funds was rigorously monitored, evaluated and audited by the donors and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC); copies of reports in this regard are still available.

 

 

 

 

Finally, AVRS was not part of the forensic audit process carried out by KPMG and its associates as quoted in the New Dawn Nigeria report. At a recent meeting

 

 

between Punuka Associates, KPMG officials and representatives of CMOs in Nigeria, AVRS strongly protested the emergence of a “preliminary” forensic audit report in which it could be mentioned as having been audited accordingly, without being part of any such process.

 

For the records, officials of Punuka and KPMG only met with the Acting GM, Mrs. Bukola Adeyemi and Chairman of AVRS, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun on Wednesday 18th of March, 2020 at the AVRS office in their bid to carry out the forensic audit. They were fully briefed and furnished with necessary documents that will facilitate their audit.

 

Since inception, AVRS has been dutifully committed to meeting all of its obligations, including its annual reports to its members, door partners and the regulatory agency, the NCC. The Society remains open to the forensic audit processes as directed by the NCC, which only recently commenced formally with the March 18th, 2020 meeting in our office.

 

We therefore wish to enjoin members of AVRS, other stakeholders and the general public to discountenance the said New Dawn Nigeria report while we await the final outcome of the on-going forensic audit process which result would be made public.

 

Be assured of the highest esteem of the Chairman of AVRS.

 

For: Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria

 

Olubukola Adeyemi (Mrs)

Ag. General Manager

08132307835.

 

 

 

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