Confusion over Toni Braxton concert fees

HARARE - Bernie Bismark, who co-promoted the Toni Braxton-Babyface Concert with South African company Canoc Live, has refuted claims by Tourism minister Walter Mzembi that she duped the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz).

Officially launching Sungura artiste Peter Moyo’s latest album on September 4, Mzembi called for the arrest of BD music director Bismark for allegedly failing to pay $15 000 to Nacz.

“The promoter is on the run and I am calling on Nacz to look for this promoter and get them arrested…,” said Mzembi during Moyo’s album launch held at 7 Arts Theatre.

But Bismark, who is an acclaimed pianist, teacher, composer and music producer, insisted during an interview with the Daily News that she was not on the run.

“Yes I have been reading what has been written by the media regarding the concert. I have no problem with Nacz. I never ran away, why would I? I love my country,” said Bismark on Friday.

The music promoter, who co-founded the defunct Misty’s Night Club, could not be drawn into responding to allegations reportedly made by Canoc Live in a Bulawayo-based State daily paper that the concert tickets and the money for the Toni Braxton-Babyface Concert did not add up.

“Right now I am working on a press statement with my lawyer so that I can have a clear statement out there. It will be released next week (this week),” said Bismark.

Interestingly, the Nacz, which was allegedly defrauded by Bismark according to Mzembi, has defended the music promoter’s conduct.

“The Nacz cleared the show according to the laid down procedures.  On the issue of arrest of promoter that you are allegedly quoting minister Mzembi to have said, apparently he has not as yet given the Nacz such a directive.

“Therefore, Nacz suggests you check with him on the issue of the arrest of the promoter. It is, however, important to mention that the Council’s dealings with its clients (promoters and arts associations) remain a confidential issue as is the norm worldwide,” said the Nacz communications and marketing officer, Catherine Mthombeni.

The Nacz spokesperson added the Toni Braxton-Babyface Concert was not given preferential treatment.

“Normally the Nacz always receives various requests and waivers from promoters when bringing in international artists due to the costs that are involved and the requests are considered on the merit of each case. Therefore, the Toni Braxton show by Bismarck is no different from other arrangements for international shows,” she said.

“A promoter should be a legal entity that is compliant with the laws of Zimbabwe including payment of all relevant taxes. As Nacz we confirm this by way of the promoter submitting a tax clearance certificate.

“In the event of bringing in a foreign artist, the artists so contracted must pay PAYE like all of us and it is the responsibility of the employer (promoter) to collect this from the employee (artist) and remit this to Zimra before Nacz clears a show. Nacz therefore requires the promoter to get the clearance from Zimra as evidence that they have remitted the requisite PAYE for the foreign artists being imported.

“They should submit an official application letter to Nacz together with show budgets, venue, entry fee, date of show, time of show, artistes’ contacts, artistes’ passport details, the clearance letter from Zimra as confirmation that the artist’s taxes have been remitted to them among many details that are critical before holding of the show,” said Mthombeni.

She added: “Nacz calculates a statutory clearance fee which will be communicated to the promoter. Upon payment of the related fees, Nacz issues promoter with three letters: A show clearance letter addressed to the promoter and two copies of a letter addressed to the Immigration Department and Board of Censors.”

According to Mthombeni, at least three local artists should be contracted by a registered promoter for any show featuring a non-Zimbabwean artist.

Comments (2)

Maybe Mzembi didn't get his cut.

Galore 123 - 16 September 2015

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