Equity Bank ordered to pay KES 5M for illegal use of “Wings to Fly” song

After a decade-long court battle, the court has ordered Equity Bank to pay Eric Obiero Nyadida KES 5 million for allegedly using his music to promote its Wings to Fly scholarship programme without pay.

Milimani Commercial High court under the stewardship of Lady Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled in favor of Nyadinda and further directed the lender, together with the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and the police, to pay him KES 250,000 for malicious prosecution.

“This court had a chance to listen to the petitioner’s music ‘Wings to Fly’ when the same was played in court during the hearing. I noted that there was a striking similarity between the said song and the one used by the bank in advertising its programme, also dubbed ‘Wings to Fly’,” the judge said.

Nyandida praised the decision terming it as overwhelming. 

“I must say, that the greatest pleasure I have had is to achieve something that many creatives have fought for over the years, and while doing so, I have had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. I undertook to fight the good fight, to get involved in some good trouble, if I may say so,” he said in a statement.

Equity Bank in 2013, asked the then 16-year-old Nyadida while in Form Two at Maranda High School, to compose the “Wings to Fly” song in exchange for a KES 10 million pay. 

Nyadinda composed the song, recorded it, and shared it with the bankers but the bankers failed to honour their end of the deal despite going ahead to use the song across all their platforms as a marketing tool.

“I severally wrote letters to James Mwangi (Equity CEO) and other people at the bank in which I got responses but at some point, they asked me to reduce the cash from KES 10 million to KES 2.5 million but I refused,” Nyadida said last year.

Nyadenda alleges that the continued demands of his due, led Equity Bank to use its influence to have him and his brother take them to court for attempting to defraud the Bank of KES 10 million.

“The bank told my brother and I through a letter that we had committed a criminal offence and we were to take statements the next day at Equity Centre,” said Nyadida.

“The case took three years in court and I was acquitted on October 3, 2017, since the prosecution had not provided enough evidence for the offence,” added Nyadida.

Nyadida also says that the bank offered to exchange the pending Sh10 million fee with a scholarship but Nyadida declined.

Obiero was prosecuted at the instigation of the lender for forgery alongside his brother Geoffrey Nyadida Odongo and then acquitted in October 2017 for lack of evidence.

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