Popular rapper Kiernan Forbes, better known by his stage name AKA, is in trouble with the taxman. He owes the SA Revenue Service (Sars) at least R2 million.
This is according to legal papers submitted by the rapper. His former manager, Raphael Benza, has dragged Forbes to court, claiming the rapper owed his record company, Vth Season, at least R650 000, which should have been settled by the end of November.
In July, the parties signed a separation settlement agreement before a sheriff of the court. However, Forbes has since failed to comply, arguing that he owes the taxman.
Now Benza’s lawyers have launched a contempt of court application, demanding that Forbes pay back the money.
Kiernan and his lawyers signed the agreement and it was made an order of the court, said Benza.
“We have been lenient about the payment due because of their cash flow and Sars challenges, but we cannot wait indefinitely. We would like to wrap up the matter as soon as possible.”
According to papers which City Press has seen, Forbes’ lawyer, Oupa Baloyi, argued that his client did not comply because he was “experiencing financial difficulties”.
Forbes was obliged to pay penalties of about R2 million to Sars.
Baloyi then spoke to City Press and blamed Benza for Forbes’ tax woes because the funds owing had accumulated during the financial years in which Forbes was signed to Vth Season.
“He [Benza] created this. As his manager, it was his responsibility to advise him about all financial and tax issues as part of his management duties, in accordance with a management agreement,” Baloyi said, adding that the tax penalties could have been avoided if Benza had done the right thing.
Baloyi said he had to come in late last year to amend a clause in Forbes’ contract to ensure that his money was deposited in his account.
At the time, Benza did not pay Forbes 80% of his earnings, as per their management agreement. Instead, he paid the rapper a specific amount each month, like an employee instead of an independent contractor.
Asked whether Forbes had made an arrangement to pay Sars, Baloyi said: “We are in advanced negotiations with them.”
However, Benza said that he was not responsible for Forbes’ tax problems. It was each artist’s responsibility to pay tax on their personal income – including any other earnings, such as property rentals or investments.
He said he only managed Forbes’ brand and music.
“I advised Kiernan regularly to pay Sars and he told me he was paying,” said Benza.
“I never asked for proof. I trusted him. He is a grown man,” Benza said.
He added that he had urged Forbes to make responsible financial decisions for years, but the rapper continued to spend on assets without thinking of the long-term repercussions.