Jun 14, 2012 News
Investigations into the major scandal at the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN)
have revealed shocking details of how one senior official collected millions of dollars in cheques from an advertiser and placed it into his personal bank account.
The disclosure was made by suspended Programme Manager, Martin Goolsarran, in a report earlier this week to the NCN Board of Directors, well placed sources have confirmed.
Last Friday, Goolsarran, a longstanding broadcaster, was suspended amidst revelations that monies were collected for NCN and never placed in the bank accounts of that entity.
The probe was triggered earlier this year by claims from NCN’s Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Sattaur, that the entity raked in more than $500M in revenues last year. The disclosures were made during heated debates in Parliament over an $80M subsidy to NCN by Government.
An upset opposition had accused NCN and the Government Information News Agency (GINA) of reporting bias in favour of the government. The $80M subsidy was reduced to $1, leading to protests by both GINA and NCN.
Along with this startling disclosure, there were also questions about the operations of NCN after a number of complaints reached the board that cameramen and other production crew of that state-owned agency were not paid for work done in last year’s highly successful GT&T Jingle and Song Competition.
The board had started an investigation and last Friday sent home Goolsarran.
A well-placed source in NCN said that Goolsarran was required to explain his role in the collection of monies from Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company which had hosted the show.
Goolsarran reportedly said that between September and December 2011, NCN committed to record and broadcast the show which was being held in various parts of the country.
However, NCN later determined it could not handle the job and decided to hire Hits and Jams Television (HJTV) to do the production.
Goolsarran claimed that the NCN’s CEO, Mohamed Sattaur, was fully aware of the deal and even approved it.
When it came time for payments to HJTV, Goolsarran claimed that GT&T issued cheques on two separate occasions in his name. These were deposited to his account and cash to the tune of $3,930,000 was withdrawn and paid over to HJTV on two separate occasions.
Kaieteur News understands that there was a cash payment to Hits and Jams Entertainment of $1.95 million in December and another of $1.98 million in January this year. This amounted to $3.93 million. He named Wanita Hubern as the liaison between GT&T and NCN.
Goolsarran also reportedly said that GT&T owes another $3.6M for the work done.
Kaieteur News also understands that GT&T has started its own checks to determine how Goolsarran could have been paid personally since he never in the first place had the authority to encumber NCN without being the CEO. In short he created a debt for the company.
Sources at NCN had claimed over the weekend that the CEO was also under probe. There were calls for him to be off the job as his presence may impede the ongoing investigations.
There have been accusations of widespread wrongdoing and little accountability with even staffers claiming deliberate flouting of controls.
There were questions over the purchase of a multi-million-dollar Outside Broadcast vehicle, which is presently lying unused in the compound following its acquisition several months ago. It is down for the want of several important components.
The old radio Outside Broadcast vehicle is presently gathering moss in another section of the NCN compound.
According to one source, an independent investigation will also reveal that the company may have purchased reconditioned cameras instead of brand new ones as documented in their budgetary requests.
A few years ago Sattaur, who is also the administrator of a number of the ruling PPP’s entities including Red House and Heritage House, was suspended by the NCN board of directors headed by Dr. Prem Misir following claims of insubordination.
However, he was reinstated by the then President Bharrat Jagdeo who had intervened in the matter.
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