Release full report on NCN probe – AFC
The Alliance for Change (AFC) is calling for the release of the full report into investigations of financial irregularity at the state-owned national radio and television station.
“We believe that anyone suspected of skimming the cream off the milk jug must be thoroughly investigated,” AFC Parliamentarian Cathy Hughes stated.
She believes that those senior officials of the company found guilty should be made to face the full brunt of the law. But Hughes suspects that there is an ongoing cover up to shield those officials from such action.
However, Hughes stopped short of calling for the Police to visit the doors of Mohamed ‘Fuzzy’ Sattaur and Martin Goolsarran. Sattaur, the Chief Executive Officer, has resigned and Senior Manager Martin Goolsarran has been suspended for eight weeks without pay.
Hughes, the woman in the AFC who has been gunning after the books at the National Communications Network (NCN), said that as a public company, it must declare the full details of the investigation.
With this not yet available, she was hesitant in making an outright call for Sattaur and Goolsarran to be handed over to the Police.
“I would like to first see the report. I don’t think we can necessarily jump to a decision. If there is criminal negligence and if there is a criminal situation here, then the Police must do what they do,” she stated.
Goolsarran had admitted to accepting a cheque written in his name from GT&T. For Hughes, this is a case of fraudulent conversion.
“It is not good enough to say that the CEO has resigned and that a senior manager was suspended. NCN is a state owned company and was receiving millions of dollar. We have a right to know and to be given full details,” Hughes stated.
The AFC engineered a complete slashing of NCN’s annual subvention in this year’s budget, when it was revealed that the company raked in some $500 millions in profit last year. President Donald Ramotar, who is also the Minister of Information, launched an investigation, which led to the revelations of financial irregularity.
“We need to know the scale of any misappropriation and whoever is culpable needs to be dealt with as the law provides,” Hughes declared.
AFC Parliamentarian Moses Nagamootoo said what is obscene about the whole matter is that Sattaur was very boisterous in the streets protesting against the withholding, and has just caught himself in the eye of the storm.
“If you have pilfering and malfeasance… we are entitled to know how long it has been going on; we are entitled to know the size of the mess…,” Nagamootoo told reporters yesterday.
The AFC also wants NCN to say how much money it collected for the flurry of advertisements by the ruling PPP during the elections campaign. The party wants to know who paid over the money and to whom it was paid. It also wants evidence of which accounts the money went into.
Hughes stated that the AFC is discussing how best to address the matter.
Two days ago, Dr Prem Misir, who led the investigation, said the probe was centered “only” on allegations of financial irregularities surrounding NCN and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company’s Jingle and Song Competition.
He told Kaieteur News that even so, several other deficiencies at NCN were uncovered and he conceded that “there are still some grey areas.”
Dr. Misir said that while there were intimations for police involvement earlier in the probe, the company would like to verify, internally, what had transpired, before calling in the police, and reminded that at present some money is still to be accounted for.
He was speaking to a payment made to NCN by GT&T. It is unclear where the money is, he said.
The AFC now feels fully vindicated for taking “the bold and unprecedented step” to cut the allocations for NCN that were presented in the 2012 National Budget.
“The people of Guyana now see it was the right thing to do,” Hughes stated.