Kenny Kunene, the man behind the Zarfest which saw American artists Ciara, Li’l Kim, Fat Joe and DJ Scratch perform in Zimbabwe, has urged local promoters to be cautious of international conmen after he was duped of R4 million by a Canadian man, Andrew Wilson, early this year.
Kunene said the con artist had claimed to be an agent of American musicians Nicki Minaj and Drake.
Kunene said he was duped after partnering with Farah Fortune, a successful South African businesswoman, to bring the two musicians to South Africa.
“Last year I was approached by Farah Fortune to fund a Drake and Nicki Minaj concert, which was something I had wanted to do anyway and in the spirit of women empowerment with the commitment Farah had shown, I decided to give her an opportunity,” he said.
He said Fortune was in charge of all the communication with Wilson who was indeed once an agent for Drake and was continuing to pass himself off as such.
Kunene added that Fortune had worked with 39-year-old Wilson who was Drake’s manager then on a previous show in Nigeria, so she had seen no reason not to trust him and the documents and emails at his disposal at the time had appeared authentic and, in his understanding, Fortune knew what she was doing.
He said the contracts provided to them proved to be false, but by then the funds had been paid over.
Kunene therefore decided to hire a private detective in New York to confirm it was a scam and immediately opened the criminal case.
He said that he had lost R4 million in total and had to write it off as Wilson owes even more money to the Canadian government and has no assets to speak of.
Meanwhile, the man who once served as manager to Canadian actor and recording artist, Drake, is behind bars after a two-year-long investigation by Toronto police.
Wilson, also known as Drew Wilson, Drew Dazzle and Ken Jackson, was charged with 14 cases of fraud relating to falsifying documents, impersonation and possession of property obtained by crime and obtaining credit under false pretenses.
Canadian investigators said Wilson had been forging documents for more than a decade to rent lavish condos, buy luxury vehicles and take extravagant vacations.
“When we arranged the Zarfest, we carefully checked out everyone we were dealing with. Sadly, scams like the Nicki Minaj/Drake one are all too common in the music industry and one of the worst aspects of it is that the artists themselves never get to see this money as their names are cynically used to commit crimes,” said Kunene.
The South African businessman said this would not stop him from hosting more international shows in Africa.