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21.10.2004 General News

How Madam Terror rules GBC

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....And saga of a Board that applied “primitive rural Ashanti” principle EMERGING DETAILS ON the recent interdiction of five personnel of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), suggests a worrying management-style underlined by a terrorist-style mindset best captured by dissolved Board Chairman Prof Stephen Adei's infamous words: “Primitive rural Ashanti” mentality!

So apt is Prof Adei's description of the events that he unfortunately supervised at the premier state-owned broadcasting corporation that many who have had time to read details of correspondences on the issue, have wondered whether the dissolved Board had really been up to the task it was given from the day it was set up.

Among the damning findings Gye Nyame Concord checks reveal was the fact the Adei-led Board breached the rules of natural justice over the illegal interdiction of the Director of TV, Mr Charles Kofi Bucknor and four other newsroom TV personnel.

Contrary to earlier news reports as well, the underlying principle for the interdiction was that the report was embarrassing to government - not Ghana Airways - and GBC.

The Board, Gye Nyame Concord can reveal, also approved the illegal interdiction of the GBC staff on the basis of an interim report without affording any of the interdicted staff a hearing.

This paper can also reveal that the Adei-led Board replicated the worst form of what the Director of GIMPA and Chairman of the dissolved Board told JOY FM about a fortnight ago amounted to “Primitive rural Ashanti” thinking.

On the JOY FM programme, Adei labelled the decision by the National Media Commission (NMC) to dissolve his Board as an example of “primitive rural Ashanti” mentality compared to today's “good corporate governance principles”.

Though the NMC said the Board was dismissed because it failed to solve the numerous problems that have plagued GBC and because after close examination, it concluded that the Board had been ineffective since it took office, Prof Adei's explanation was that the NMC dismissed his Board because the NMC felt slighted by their decision on the GBC staff/Eva Lokko-management crisis

The GIMPA boss also claimed the NMC's action was a cheap way of bulldozing its way in the affairs of the corporation.

What Prof Adei, however, failed to disclose on the midday news programme was that his sacked Board equally punished the interdicted Director of TV because he pointed out the Board's wrong and illegal actions to them.

The Director of TV, Mr Kofi Bucknor pointed out the illegal and unconstitutional nature of the Board's decision to the Board in a five page petition to Prof Adei on September 2.

But contrary to the rules of fairness and good corporate governance, and possibly in line with “primitive rural Ashanti” principles, the Adei-Board recalled all the other newsroom staff, but put the petitioner on ice.

Consequently, Mr Bucknor was directed by the Board to stay on indefinite suspension when he was not directly involved in the news airing process, whilst the newsroom staff - Mr Emmanuel Vorgbe, Editor-in-Chief; Mr Francis Sasu, Assistant Chief Editor; Nana Yaw Duodu, Assistant Editor and Mr Solomon Ayiah, a journalist on contract - were recalled to duty.

The petition by Bucknor went at length to explain that the decision by the dismissed Board was hasty, “flies in the face of procedure; it contradicts the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and flouts Management regulations. Beyond that, and more seriously a careful look at the facts of the case would have shown the constitutional pit we were looking into”, the respected Director of TV cautioned.

He noted that the story for which they were interdicted was from the very credible Pan African News Agency (PANA), a source trusted as a credible news source around the world.

Though he regretted the error of airing the news, he also elaborated at length on the painstaking measures he undertook as Director of GTV to apologise to government on the issue.

“On the 27th [a day after the PANA news] GTV broadcast twice, a retraction stating inter alia, that credible news sources such as the Daily Graphic and other national newspaper had reported the signing of the contract between Ghana Airways and its foreign partner, correcting the previous Pan African News Agency story carried by GTV on the 26th; this is the professional thing to do, and it was done.”

“Without the DG, l traced and found the home of the Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport and offered him an explanation, an apology and a copy of the transmission on tape. He asked for the copy of the retraction and l informed him we had made. I was unable to do so before your decision.”

Bucknor also noted that the Board's decision flouted Articles 23(f), 23b (i&ii) and others in the CBA of GBC. Keep reading.

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