•Management, board also culpable •¢5.7bn invoices not issued to agents Final report on the investigations into operations of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) for the period of January 2001 to October 2005 indicate that the director-general, officer-in-charge of finance, management and the board of directors all have questions to answer in the multi billion cedi rot at the corporation during the four-year period.
The investigations conducted by the Auditor-General's Department has categorically implicated both the previous board and management, plus the embattled Director General, Ms. Eva Lokko, and Kofi Kyei, in the misappropriation galore of various sums of monies running into some ¢10billion.
While the report stated that the board and management could not produce audited financial statements for the 2000 to 2004 financial years, it said, “Management issued bills to agents without any documentation, resulting in two agents denying knowledge of 37 invoices totaling ¢828 million debited to their personal accounts.”
Also brought to light was the fact that the corporation operated as many as 17 bank accounts, including two foreign ones; a situation that, it noted, did not ensure proper transparency.
“Keeping several accounts could also lead to double or multiple payments, high bank charges and high clerical cost of administering the accounts,” it added. And apart from all this, the internal audit unit of the corporation had broken down.
“There was no effective Internal Audit Unit. This resulted in serious malpractices in the acceptance and processing of advertisements and announcements. For example 24 invoices totaling ¢1.2 billion and which were presented to us by two agents, were not entered into GBC's debtors' ledger,” it further revealed.
According to the report, the previous GBC board did not have sufficient time to establish adequate control measures to ensure the efficient management of the corporation, though the board was in office for about 13 months.
Whiles attacking the previous board, the report added, “The lapses and weaknesses could have been avoided if Ms. Lokko had instituted proper control measures to safeguard the assets of the corporation, adhered to laid down regulations and also effectively carried out their supervisory roles.”
It further noted that the current GBC board had not had sufficient time to appraise the many operational and management problems facing the corporation to offer appropriate solutions, but was quick to add that the board's responses to their audit observations indicated they were making keen efforts to address the numerous problems.
Breaking down the misappropriations that had engulfed the nation's premier broadcasting corporation, it stated that several blank cheques were stolen from the custody of management, out of which 15 cheques were used to fraudulently withdraw a total amount of ¢1,142,432,000 (over ¢1.1billion) at the Bank of Ghana, Prudential Bank and the Trust Bank.
It emphasized, “The Director-General attempted leasing a portion of GBC land at Kanda on the Ring Road Central to Prudential Bank without authority.”
It hinted that management failed to pay seven technical/production crewmembers for their role in the 'He Ha Hoo' programme even though the corporation was fully paid by the Johns Hopkins University.
The report revealed that although a voucher for ¢718million was raised for the payment of long service award, it was not entered in the accounting records and no cheque was issued for that amount.
It continued that individual cheques totaling ¢399,964,150.32 (over ¢399million) were issued to 89 workers as long service awards without supporting payment vouchers.
The report said the corporation's finance department failed to issue invoices totaling ¢5.72 billion to its agents and also delayed invoicing space orders transmitted by GTV to the tune of ¢3.165billion for periods ranging between 18 to a 100 months after the adverts were played.
According to the report in 2004, 283 vouchers from three accounts with Bank of Ghana, the Prudential Bank and the Trust Bank, totaling ¢1,671,852,451.13 (about ¢1.7billion) and duly entered in the cash books, were not presented to the Auditor General for examination despite persistent requests made to Mr. Kofi Kye, Officer-in-Charge of Finance.
As part of the recommendations, the report stated that Messrs Kofi Kye and Augustine York should be held responsible for the loss of computerized debtors' data. Mr. Kye is again to be surcharged for the total cost of ¢113,712,000 paid to Messrs DataSys Computing Solutions.
The investigations were necessitated by allegations of financial malpractices leveled by the executive of the local union of GBC against certain senior management personnel.
The report compiled on 30th December 2005 and signed by the Auditor-General, Edward Dua Agyeman, took cognizance of the fact that Miss Lokko had taken legal action against the board of GBC and the National Media Commission. To be continued.