Culled from The Post
The new executive of the Cameroon National Musical Art Corporation, SONACAM, that was voted into office last December 12, will have to start building a new corporation from scratch after taking over a company with empty coffers and no trace of a working document from the previous management team.
The sad reality was revealed during the first board meeting of the Dr Ateh Bazore-led team that was held in Yaounde on Friday, January 15, 2021.
While addressing members of the board of administrators during the session, the new SONACAM Board Chair, Dr Ateh Bazore, said they have not had any minute of rest since they took over the top management of the copyrights body, as they had to visit the head office of SONACAM to evaluate the state of affairs there, and also work with the outgoing team for a smooth transition.
Apart from meeting a corporation squandered and left in ruins by the Sam Fan Thomas-led team, Dr Ateh Bazore said all efforts at ensuring a fluid transition proved futile, and while running out of patience, the Control Commission proceeded with a formal transition, and the services of a sheriff baillif were hired to assess the financial and material health of the company.
“We noticed that the office of SONACAM was either operating without officials or everybody did just what they wanted; we saw proofs that all financial entries from copyrights payments, and even membership registrations, had no visible trace and no follow up; we were shocked to find out that the materials of some users, which were seized to compel them to pay copyrights, had disappeared; we were at a lost when the sheriff baillif found no trace of an important document in the office of the General Manager; and in the office of the head of financial affairs, there was no sign of a receipt that was used,” the Board Chair narrated.
In addition to all these irregularities, he added that the document presented to the Control Commission last December 28, by the head of financial affairs revealed that SONACAM had only 126,000 CFA F in its account lodged at CBC Bank; 100,000 CFA F in its redistribution account with the same bank; and just 7,875,000 CFA F in its redistribution account with Express Union.
“It should be emphasized that this document, as well as the state of affairs, is silent on contracts with users, employment contracts, the cash diary and on the administrative and financial documents of the company,” underlined Dr Ateh Bazore to the members of the board of administrators.
This state of affairs was to be expected given that during the inclusive general assembly of SONACAM that was held on October 24, the Control Commission indicted the previous management team of large-scale administrative and financial scandals that amounted to 32 gross irregularities.
Despite the repugnant attitude of the outgoing team and the state of ruin in which SONACAM lies today, the new team said they were ready to sacrifice everything in order that the company takes-off, adding that with no franc in their coffers, they had to borrow money in order to organize their first board meeting.
New Bureau, New Vision
The new SONACAM executive is boiling with fresh ideas that will give a face-lift to the copyrights body and transform it totally into a viable structure, capable of meeting its objectives and obligations.
To start with, the board of administrators has decided to suspend all SONACAM activities throughout the national territory in order to restructure and reorganize the corporation on the basis of a new vision that will make it more productive and competitive.
In his own words, Dr Ateh Bazore said “this session is aimed at getting top managers who will permit the company to take-off; it is also aimed at giving the company the foundations that can make it survive, that’s why we are going to have a road map, we are going to work on the organigramme, job description for those who will be recruited in the days ahead and most especially, we will work on a clear vision which will permit the company to be restructured so that in the days ahead, we can start producing and bringing in enough money to make Cameroonian artistes smile.”
To further whip up their hopes for a new beginning, the Board Chair quipped that “we have people out there who are ready to pay copyrights and have just been waiting for the right organization to come in”.
Apart from planning to work closely with mobile telephone operators and micro financial institutions in ensuring the effective and traceable collection of copyrights, the new team intends to install SONACAM branches in all ten regions of Cameroon and proximity antennas in all the divisional head quarters.
A large and strong communication campaign has equally been earmarked in the days ahead with the support of a brewery company, which will assist SONACAM in producing and pasting 100,000 stickers across the country, with a message encouraging users to pay copyrights.
While also promising to work towards reviewing contracts signed with “big users” like CRTV, the board chair added that they shall sign collective conventions with all private radio and TV channels, mobile telephone companies, Councils and all other users of their products.
Dr Ateh Bazore enjoined the members of the board of administrators to throw in their full weight behind the new vision of the company and be ready to sacrifice so that SONACAM can take-off from the ruins of yesterday and fly in bright skies for the well-being of all Cameroonian musicians.
By GEORGE MUAM