Leaked NCN report says…No evidence GT&T was billed for production of Jingle competition
Investigations at the National Communications Network (NCN) by an appointed auditor in June to probe allegations of financial irregularities found that despite several weeks of production work on GT&T’s Jingle and Song Competition, the state-owned entity did not even bill their client and as a result did not receive millions of dollars owed.
NCN had been hired to record and edit the shows, broadcast them, and air the advertisements on both its radio and network of television channels.
It was these same production costs which the auditor found that Production Manager, Martin Goolsarran, submitted an invoice in his personal name and home address and collected $3,930,000 and later deposited to his personal bank account.
Goolsarran, following the report, was suspended for eight weeks while his boss, Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Sattaur, resigned in an embarrassing scandal that rocked the state-owned entity.
According to a report that was prepared by accountant, Harry Parmessar, and done at the request of the Office of the President (OP), the arrangements for NCN to do work for GT&T was all verbal and included no contract.
The accountant was tasked with investigating financial irregularities alleged to have occurred between September 2011 and February 2012 on the arrangement and payment for the aforementioned competition.
In his report to Dr. Roger Luncheon, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, the auditor explained that GT&T contracted NCN to provide production and broadcasting services for the competition during the period.
“Information was received by the Board of Directors of NCN that the Production Manager, Martin Goolsarran, may have misappropriated revenues arising from these services,” the accountant said in his report which was leaked to a parliamentarian.
Between June 14 and June 18, last, several NCN staffers were interviewed and documents and records of the company were examined.
Personnel, including the Finance Manager, and those from the Production, Marketing and Internal Audit Departments were also questioned.
What the auditor found was shocking.
“No billing and no payment was received by NCN for production services,” Parmessar said in his report.
The report later slammed the actions of both Sattaur and Goolsarran.
“They have knowingly breached the company’s internal control procedures. Their actions in dealing with the GT&T Jingle and Song Competition clearly demonstrated conflict of interest.”
The report also recommended that the Board of Directors take necessary actions, including legal ones, to recover loss of revenue for all amounts paid to any individual.
The OP-ordered investigations found that poorly-kept records made it difficult to determine how much money NCN was actually raking in although Parliament was told earlier this year that over $500M was made last year.
The investigations revealed that no verification was done on a critical record, the Broadcast Log, to ensure “all billable broadcasts are being invoiced to the customer. This could result in loss of revenue to the NCN.”
This suggested that ads were being aired, but clients were not being billed.
Opposition parties in Parliament have blocked millions of dollars in subsidies to NCN and a sister agency, the Government Information Agency (GINA), calling for reforms and claiming the two were heavily biased in favour of government.