Dear Nairobian Defender,
My name is Denis Maina, and I am a scriptwriter by profession.
In July 2016, I was contacted by a guy called Ibrahim Chitayi — who is the head writer of a production company called Jiffy Pictures, reportedly owned by Lulu Hassan.
Ibrahim asked me to help him write a script for a programme titled Moyo, which currently runs on Citizen TV on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.
We held talks about the assignment and reached an agreement. We decided to hit the ground running. Ibrahim insisted that I get booked in at Pride Inn hotel in Nyali, Mombasa, despite my home being just five minutes’ drive from the establishment. So, I agreed.
We toiled and moiled, and story-lined for an entire season of the play. After two weeks of scripting, he asked that we take a few days’ break, claiming he had to travel to Tanzania to arrange a shoot.
He promised to pay me my money by the end of that week — at this point, Jiffy Pictures owed me Sh127,500.
That week passed and there was no word from Ibrahim. I sent him an email in the second week seeking to find out when and how I was to be paid.
In response, Ibrahim sent me a long winding email. He told me, in the email, how Lulu Hassan was allegedly disappointed with me. Apparently, the company had suffered losses by checking me into the hotel, yet I had failed to deliver! The email went on to say that Jiffy Pictures had not accepted my episodes as they were shoddy.
Interestingly, the complaints were coming after two weeks writing and rewriting the script with Ibrahim reviewing the episodes, and even forwarding our work to Lulu who okayed them. Why did they let me do all that work — eleven episodes — then suddenly turn the tables and blame me.
I consulted a lawyer who sent a demand letter to the company, but one which they never responded to. In fact, Lulu called me claiming she had no idea who I was. She told me not to involve her in my “problems” with Ibrahim.
Remember that her company Jiffy pictures had cleared my hotel bill, and the scripts forwarded to her had my full name.
In mid-September, Citizen TV started airing the very episodes I wrote — almost word for word. I was shocked. I could not understand how the same episodes that were declared ‘poor quality’ were now airing on TV!
I have recorded a few extracts as aired on TV, and which I have attached herein. Spoiling my name as an incompetent writer is negatively affecting my chances of getting gigs. I have been intimidated, and even received messages through third parties asking me to drop this case or get blacklisted. The other day, I lost a gig after this guy said that, “We were told you are a troublemaker.’’
Please help me
Steps taken by The Defender
The Defender contacted Jiffy pictures on this matter, and for two weeks,followed up with the popular TV anchor to climb down and pay her scriptwriter. After looking at the case, Lulu asked for our email address so she could send us her version of the story. However this was never to be. When we called her this week, she appeared not keen on settling the matter. Despite admitting that her company indeed paid for the hotel that hosted the young man, she kept insisting that she did not know him.
“Wewe andika chenye unataka kuandika,” Lulu Hassan said on phone. But just why would a well-paid and celebrated TV anchor refuse to pay for services rendered by a young man trying to make ends meet?