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04.11.2005 General News

Crisis At GBC Deepens

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The crisis at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) deepened on Tuesday when a section of the workers accused the Director-General,Ms Eva Lokko,of defying an order to proceed on leave and instead ordered the interdiction of four members of the unionised staff.

The workers connected Ms Lokko to a disciplinary action taken against Messrs Eric Annor,Mansford Armah,Ernest Paintill and Lawrence Tetteh for various offences.

Letters interdicting the four were signed by Alhaji Hamidu Chodi,Assistant Director in charge of Administration,but the aggrieved workers said he was instructed by the embattled director-general to take the action.

The decision did not go down well with Mr Annor,whose letter indicated that he had falsified an application for a loan and in an ensuing confrontation,was alleged to have physically attacked Alhaji Chodi, resulting in his sustaining some injuries.

The letter interdicting Mr Annor,which was sighted by this reporter read in part,“In connection with your application for a loan to purchase a means of transport,you submitted two separate deeds of assignment in support of your request,which were found to have been doctored”.

The letter went on to indicate that Mr Annor had been interdicted for breaching Article 23 Sub-section(f)of the corporation's collective bargaining agreement and would, therefore,be paid two-thirds of his salary during the period of interdiction.

Some of the unionised staff also alleged that Ms Lokko had given instruction that no staff vehicle should be allowed into the main yard of the corporation.

They alleged that the instruction was believed to have prevented the board chairman,who was to take over from the director-general,from entering the corporation's premises.

While the embattled director-general's fiat was in force, the workers alleged,she managed to go to the office in an unmarked vehicle,thereby outwitting the rest of the staff and the board members.

Meanwhile,as of 6.30 p.m on Wednesday,GBC staff had refused to leave the premises of the corporation,claiming that they would not leave until a decision had been taken by the National Media Commission (NMC) and the board.

The two bodies were locked in a crisis meeting from 4 p.m on Wednesday to decide on the directive by the NMC to Ms Lokko to proceed on leave.

The workers chanted war songs,some of which were,“All we are saying is that Eva must go”and“If you do not want to proceed on leave,you will be dismissed”.

The workers alleged that because the management of the corporation did not want the real story to be told to the rest of the world,it prevented the GBC camera crew from filming the workers,alleging that the cameras were all locked on Ms Lokko's orders.

After 6.40 p.m on Wednesday,however,the Chairman of the GBC unionised staff,Mr Elvis Darku,announced to a huge gathering of GBC workers that,according to a decision reached by the board and the NMC,Ms Lokko ceased to be the director-general of the corporation after 5 p.m on Wednesday.

Mr Darku called on the workers to thank the Almighty God, whom He claimed had won them “a long-awaited victory”. It was only after the announcement by the union chairman that the workers agreed to go home.

A source close to management,however,told the Daily Graphic that most of the unionised GBC staff were not credible,“since they are all interested parties in the whole controversy at the corporation”.

It said most of the unionised workers had benefited from the rot that went on at the corporation and hence could not be trusted with their pronouncements.