Tension is mounting at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) following allegations of financial impropriety and other bad practices made by the union against the board which threaten the viability of the state broadcaster.
The staffof GBC have expressed their lack of confidence in some board members and are, therefore, demanding their removal.
The atmosphere at the premises of the state broadcaster was charged last week when the employees were clad in red arm bands to signal how discontented they were with the performance of the board.
At the main gate of the GBC has been displayed a red cloth with the inscription “No Director of TV licence, BoD Chairman, Don’t collapse GBC, BoD Chairman, Go”. The precincts of the GBC was also inundated with red pieces of cloth tied to trees.
In a petition to the National Media Commission (NMC), the GBC union singled out the Chairman of the GBC Board, Mr Richard Kwame Asante, and Professor Linus Abraham, a member, saying they had lost confidence in them.
According to the petition, the staff contended that Prof. Abraham’s declaration at a staff durbar in February this year that allowances for employees of GBC were bloated, was unfortunate and almost resulted in the picketing of staff at the broadcasting house.
It accused Prof. Abraham of making a statement to the effect that GBC would collapse, which the union found strange to have come from a board member.
The union expressed anger at the decision by GBC to terminate a media sports contract with a French media company which resulted in GBC paying a penalty of $50,000 when the corporation lacked the needed logistics for employees to work with.
The workers are demanding a response from the board in that regard, especially an action to forestall a future dissipation of the corporation’s resources.
The union also questioned what was accounting for the delay in declaring the proceeds from the collaboration between the GBC and Metropolitan Television (METRO TV) for the coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the AFCON 2015.
“This has become a source of worry for GBC staff because such events are a main source of internally generated funds (IGF). We cannot comprehend why transactions in 2014 and 2015 are still inconclusive,” the union said in their petition to the NMC.
The union further raised the issue about GH¢69, 866 paid to Shawbell Consulting in February 2016 for drafting a five- year development plan for GBC but evidence of a complete document to that effect was non-existent.
It recalled a retreat in Koforidua in October 2015 with the board and management where the consulting firm made a presentation after which it was asked to go back and to draw the plan again but five months down the line nothing had been heard about it.
The union also accused the management of misapplying the IGF of the GBC, saying that instead of channelling the resources into retooling the organisation, “management rather deemed it fit to purchase five SUV vehicles for directors.”
According to the union, the GBC board had resorted to recruiting top management personnel who were paid from the IGF which is was violation of a directive issued by the Finance Ministry warning against such practices in ministries, departments and agencies.
The union alluded to the plans by the GBC to employ a director in charge of TV licence ignoring an earlier caution from the union. They argued that the collection of TV licence had always remained part of the responsibilities of the finance division of the corporation.
On the construction of a Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) by the government to facilitate migration from analogue broadcasting to digital television broadcasting, the union questioned why there were attempts to contract a private firm, K-NET, to manage and operate that platform when GBC was in the position to provide transmission service.
“This we find very worrying. Our transmission unit has been involved in planning and implementing many large-scale transmission projects,” the union stated.
Sources at the GBC told the Daily Graphic that the corporation was capable of running the transmission service and asked the Ministry of Communications to ensure that K-NET restricted itself to the business of supply and installation.
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