Workers suffer after AKA walked away

AKA is sorry his former staff havenot been paid their salaries.
AKA is sorry his former staff havenot been paid their salaries.

Hip hop mikado AKA and his former business partner Prince "Costinyo" Nyembe parted ways after the rapper discovered that his partner used their company to buy a flashy car without his knowledge.

AKA, real name Kiernan Forbes, and Nyembe announced their separation to staffers of their Beam Group media company in August.

The internationally-acclaimed rapper owned 70% of the company that among others, it handled his PR campaigns, videography and graphic designing.

Sunday World can today reveal that the purchase of a flashy Maserati Grancabrio Sport worth almost R1m by Nyembe, led to the collapse of the company.

Its demise had also led to a feud between the two former co-owners as there were allegations that the company owed R2m in tax.

The chaos led to some staff members abandoning the ship while others struggled to receive their pay in the months following AKA's departure.

AKA told Sunday World that the company officially closed its doors at the beginning of September and that he was made aware that some of his former employees were hired under a new media company which run from the same premises as Beam.

The Fela In Versace hit-maker said that he was prepared to settle the company's debts which equal to his 70% share in the business but said that will exclude the R900 000 for the Maserati that his business partner bought using the company's account.

"I have stated in numerous, internal company correspondences that as 70% share owner, I take ownership of whatever debt might have been incurred up to my percentage share.

"But what I will not do is to incur debt on personal expenses of any other share partner(s), that were incurred not for company purposes," he said,

Documents seen by Sunday World show that Nyembe snapped up the road monster for R905 945 under the company's name. They reveal that he made the purchase in May this year and paid a deposit of R30 000. Nyembe denied he bought the car under the company's name.

Prince Costinyo Nyembe
Prince Costinyo Nyembe

"I used to own a Maserati, but no, it was under my name. I don't own it anymore because I just decided to sell it," he said. Nyembe also denied claims that the company owes the SA Revenue Service, saying the only money the company owed was a bill towards the administration for shutting it down.

Two workers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, complained that since AKA announced his resignation in August, they never received their full salaries.

A former employee said she thought of resigning after they received emails on the day they were supposed to receive their salaries, informing them they would be paid half of what was due to them for October.

"We only received emails late on the last day of the month that we will be getting 50% of our salaries. When we questioned this matter we were asked to go back to AKA, even though he has left the company.

"After AKA left, Prince, our former COO, changed the company's name to The Brand Space Africa. He then told us we will automatically work with him at his new company.

"He promised us contracts but they were never brought to the table. Everyone who was part of Beam is treated badly, unlike the new employees," she said. Another source confirmed that they did not get full payment since the rapper left.

He said Nyembe told them AKA left with a bigger share of the company so he could not cover all costs.

AKA said: "It is with sadness that I hear through your questions that staff has not been paid their salaries since then.

"But that is unfortunately not for services rendered to Beam Group."

X