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07.10.2005 General News

GBC Workers call for Interdiction of Eva Lokko

By Chronicle
GBC Workers call for Interdiction of Eva Lokko
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Workers of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), at a durbar yesterday, called for the interdiction of their Director-General (DG), Ms Eva Lokko and the Director of Finance (DOF), Mr. Kofi Kye.

This is to enable an independent probe to investigate the corporation.

The workers want investigations into the circumstances under which cheques were stolen and used to withdraw billions of cedis from the Bank of Ghana account of GBC by unidentified people.

The workers are accusing Ms Lokko and Mr. Kye of virtually turning the corporation into a milking cow, where dubious and fraudulent schemes are deployed to line some private pockets, at a time when the company's financial position was nothing to write home about and the morale of workers had sunk to its lowest ebb.

“How come that the signatures of only the DG and DOF were forged and not that of the DOA and why have they refused to report such a sensitive issue to the police for investigations,” one of the agitated workers questioned.

The workers said since Ms. Lokko was picked as DG and Mr.Kofi Kye was subsequently appointed DOF of the state broadcasting corporation, internal auditing and control systems had totally collapsed.

This situation, according to some of them, has led to the issuance of a number of cheques running into billions of cedis to ghost companies, which is now the subject of police investigations.

The Union Chairman of the GBC, Mr. Louis Darko, in an interview after the durbar, told The Chronicle that despite the reckless fraud and theft of cheques at the GBC, Ms. Lokko and Mr. Kye, whose signatures always appeared to have been forged, did not promptly report to the police until matters escalated.

He demanded that a committee be set up immediately, so that investigations would start as soon as possible to save people from victimization and harassment as for challenging the two over the missing cheques.

He emphasized that the government should be a little bit sensitive to their agitation, since they were not demanding for better working conditions, but only an independent probe.

He stressed that they had hoisted red flags at their premises to demonstrate their insistence that the two officers be interdicted.

Earlier, in an attempt to arrest the situation, the union representatives from various divisions of the corporation (Shop Stewards), held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, 21st September to look into the state of affairs of the corporation, amidst stiff security.

At the end of the marathon meeting, 73 Shop Stewards signed and passed a resolution, calling for the interdiction of the DG.

Nonetheless, at the meeting, which the ubiquitous Chronicle managed to observe, it emerged that since Ms. Lokko assumed office, grave financial improprieties had occurred in the company.

It emerged also that the DG deliberately dismantled the financial rules of the corporation, leading to the fleecing of its accounts.

The paper heard that since she took over the GBC about two years ago, Lokko dismantled the internal control system explained above, without any replacement.

“This has opened the doors for grave financial malpractices, ostensibly to the benefit of persons at the top,” stated an insider.

According to the workers, one person could now easily raise a memo, with another preparing the voucher, authorizing and approving it as well.

The Chronicle gathered that, cheques could now, unlike in the past, be collected from the Treasury and written outside the treasury by non-accounting staff without any proper documentation.

“For example, it is known that the DG's Messenger and Secretary had written cheques at her office and the said cheques were then signed by both the DG and DOF, with some of these cheques not having even the corporation's official stamp, yet were honoured by the banks,” complained some workers.

The workers observed also that more than one cheque book was being used on one account at a time, which also affected effective bank reconciliation.

“Since January 2005, when the first theft of cheques occurred, involving a certain Parker and Gyamfi, and the DOF took over the Treasury office by himself, no cash book had been prepared, making it impossible to check payment, while cheque release book is also not kept,” a dejected-looking member of staff told the paper.

A source said when the first theft occurred, the management claimed it had put in place measures to control affairs and that the list of payees was sent in advance to the banks.

However, the source said, after these measures, Prudential Bank cheque numbers 214319, 214325, 214333 and others had been stolen and successfully cashed.

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