Equity Bank to pay musician 5 million for unlawful use of song ‘Wings to Fly”


The High Court has ordered Equity Bank to pay the composer of ‘Wings to Fly’ Sh 5 million for breach of his intellectual property rights.

Justice Wilfrida Okwany further restrained the bank and Equity Group Foundation from using the Wings to Fly song.

This is after the composer of the song, Eric Obiero Nyadida sued Equity Bank, its foundation, the DPP and the Inspector General of Police for illegal arrest and unauthorised use of his song.

“A conservatory order is hereby issued against the 1st and 2nd respondents (Bank and its Foundation) to restrain them from using the petitioner’s work of music, ‘Wings to Fly’”, Justice Okwany ruled.

The court further awarded the petitioner another Sh 250,000 in damages against all the respondents jointly and severally for malicious prosecution.

According to Nyadida, sometime in May 2013 at the age of 15, he approached the Equity Bank with a proposal to publicise the Equity Group Foundation’s education program dubbed “Wings to Fly” after which he agreed to compose an original musical piece to be used by the bank to advertise the foundation for valuable consideration. 

The petitioner who was at the time still a minor  avers that he presented his musical piece, “Wings to Fly” to the bank who agreed to purchase it for the sum of Sh 10,000,000. 

Nyadida told the court that the bank later reneged on its promise to buy the music and instead caused his arrest and prosecution with the offence of forgery by the DPP and police.

The petitioner and his brother were, however, acquitted in October 2017 after the trial court found them not guilty of the charges. 

The Petition

After their release, the petitioner moved to the High Court seeking damages for violation of his constitutional rights.

The musician avers that at the time of arrest, he was detained in the same cell with adults at Kileleshwa police station contrary to constitution.

He also accused the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of failing to prosecute him in the Children’s Court yet he was a minor at the time.

Equity Bank through its Senior Communication Manager Edward Muchai denied using the petitioner’s song in the ‘Wings to Fly’ program.

The bank claimed to have purchased the song used in the program from Apple Company in 2013. However, Muchai confirmed to the court that the same year, he had met the petitioner in his office and listened to his song.

Muchai said in his affidavit that the contract between the bank and the petitioner was forged, adding that he never signed it.

According to Equity Bank, the petitioner’s song just sounds similar to their ‘Reunion’ song from Apple but not the same.

However, an expert, Philip Tuju said that the two songs can not be said to be one.