Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has suspended Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS) chief executive officer Mr James Wasula and the compliance officer Mr Dickson Matovu.
The suspension, according to URSB, is to allow for an effective ongoing inquiry into the constitution, workings and financial conditions of the society.
“There have also been a number of complaints from members of the society with allegations of mismanagement of finances and remittance of royalties collected from rights users which URSB would also like to look into critically. This inquiry that URSB has embarked on is intended to ensure that URSB gets to the bottom of the issues within the society. It is also intended that going forward UPRS will handle its affairs within the strict confines of the law, transparently, with good governance standards as well as achieving the objectives of its establishment in the interests of its members and all other stakeholders,” reads part of the statement issued by URSB on Monday.
Citing section 75 (4) of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006, independent professional caretakers, URSB said Mr Kabiito Karamagi and Ms Rita Baguma Birungi of Ligomarc Advocates have been appointed in consultation and with the cooperation of the Board of Directors of the society to temporarily oversee the management of UPRS.
“The activities of the Caretakers shall be supervised by URSB and the Members of the Board of UPRS. During this period, URSB is going to be in constant engagement with all stakeholders and urges them to cooperate with the Caretaker. The regular activities of the Society are expected to continue smoothly and URSB calls upon all stakeholders and Ugandans generally to support this process,” the statement adds.
The suspension came hours after URSB and police raided the offices of UPRS in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb.
UPRS is a collecting society in Uganda mandated to collect royalties on behalf of audio and visual rights owners.
Individual rights owners and various stakeholders have reportedly been raising governance and accountability issues of the organ in vain.