GBC Boss Axed
The ‘cold war’ at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the state broadcaster, yesterday assumed a different turn with a directive from the National Media Commission (NMC) that William Ampem-Darko, Director-General of GBC, should proceed on leave with immediate effect until further notice. Also receiving a slap from the NMC’s axe is Professor John Aheto, Board Chairman of GBC who has been asked to step aside and in their stead, Kwabena Sarpong Anane, Deputy Director-General and Edward B. Asare, a member of the GBC Board have been appointed as acting Director-General and Board Chairman respectively. A release issued in Accra and signed by George Sarpong, Executive Secretary of the commission, said the NMC had observed with great concern recent developments at the state broadcaster. “In view of the obvious breakdown of mutual trust and confidence between the two principal actors of the corporation, namely the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prof. John Aheto, and the Director-General, William Ampem-Darko and the deleterious impact these developments are having on the corporation as a whole, the NMC has found it necessary to direct that the Board Chairman steps aside as Chairman and member of the board in the interim. The Director-General is also to proceed on leave with immediate effect until further notice,” the terse statement said. The release assured the two principal actors that the board, management and staff of GBC and the whole nation that it was investigating all the relevant matters affecting the operations of the GBC in order to re-establish normalcy in the operations of the corporation. The power play at GBC between Mr. Ampem-Darko and Prof. Aheto dates back to last year when the latter was appointed as Board Chairman of the corporation. However, what started the fresh row between the two was the disclaimer put on Kwadwo Kusi Boachie, Human Resource Manager, who is seen as Prof Aheto’s ‘boy’. Documents sighted by DAILY GUIDE alleged malfeasance, corruption and conflict of interest on the part of some of the ‘big’ officers at GBC. For instance, Prof. Aheto’s consultancy firm, called Aheto & Associates Limited, was said to have provided training for GBC staff in July, directly contravening GBC Decree 1968 NLCD 226 sub-section 8. The six-day in-house training programme for management was organized from July 12 to July 17, 2010 at the La Vikus Hotel, Kumasi and Prof. Aheto, in a letter dated July 2, 2010, to the Human Resource Manager (K.K. Boachie), had accepted to provide training for the staff, an action which amounted to conflict of interest. It is alleged that the resources and facilities of GBC were used for the workshop. But K.K. Boachie allegedly managed to get A.A. Nyankrom Enterprise, a private event-organising company, to submit receipts and invoices showing that it provided the stationery and Photostat services for the said workshop. The payment of the money to the company triggered the setting up of a committee to probe the Human Resource Manager, Mr. Boachie. The Director-General, in a memo, set up a four-member committee on September 29, 2010 to investigate the issue and submit a report. The committee was to investigate payment of GH¢3871.25 to A.A. Nyankrom Enterprise for photocopying services and the role played by K.K. Boachie, Human Resource Manager, in the payment of the amount as well as the ‘tricking’ of the Deputy Director-General that the Director-General approved a new level of performance bonus for executive directors. Before the committee’s report could be acted on, Mr. Boachie resigned. In the report titled ‘Investigations Into Payment of GH¢ 3871.25 to A.A. Nyankrom Enterprise For Photocopying Services’, the committee found, among other things, that the evidence of photocopying job carried out in GBC by GBC personnel and with GBC resources was ‘overwhelming’ and said the claim by AA Nyankrom Enterprise for the amount of GH¢ 3871.25 for the photocopying was fraudulent. The report found Mr. Boachie culpable for processing the invoice he caused AA Nyankrom Enterprise to raise for him. “The committee is satisfied from the evidence before it that the HRM colluded with AA Nyankrom Enterprise to defraud GBC which is an offence under regulation 16 (c) (ix) of the Management Staff conditions of service.” The committee found out that some witnesses met and planned to obstruct the truth and Mr. Boachie tried to gag a staff from expressing himself freely before the committee but failed. The committee also found out that the training programme in Kumasi was bogus and riddled with corruption and was approached in an unprofessional and haphazard manner. When Mr. Boachie was asked to appear before the committee, he rather questioned the legal basis of the committee, its composition and said the committee lacked representation of senior management staff association; nonetheless, the committee was able to complete its work. When this paper contacted the former Human Resource Manager, he rather accused Mr. Ampem-Darko of trying to fleece GBC. According to Mr. Boachie, the Director-General asked him for GH¢5000 but he managed to raise only GH¢2000. Mr. Boachie claimed Mr Ampen-Darko rejected the money, hence the latter’s decision to probe the seminar in Kumasi. According to the former Human Resource Manager, a similar seminar was held for top management officers including Mr. Ampem-Darko, and therefore did not understand why they had to probe him (Boachie).