Jun 28, 2012 News
President Donald Ramotar and the Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) Dr. Roger Luncheon are considering strong recommendations from the Board of Directors of the National Communications Network concerning massive financial irregularities uncovered at the state owned broadcasting company.
Kaieteur News understands that the recommendations stem from the report from a specially appointed private audit firm following revelations of financial improprieties that surfaced earlier this month.
The revelations centered on the payment of millions of dollars by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph company to NCN for work done by the staff.
Dr. Luncheon had written to the entity’s General Manager Mohamed Sattaur informing him of a decision by the Office of the President (Minister of Information) to have a special investigation launched into allegations of financial irregularity at NCN.
Dr Luncheon had informed that Parmesar Chartered Accountants was recruited and appointed to carry out the activity.
The specific terms of reference are to “specifically investigate allegation of financial irregularity occurring from September 2011 to February 2012 and with regards to the account for the GT&T Jingle and song Competition”.
The state-owned media company’s Programme Manager Martin Goolsarran had admitted that he had deposited the payment cheque from the telephone company into his personal account.
He was subsequently sent on leave to facilitate a total audit of the NCN financial position and a probe of its financial practices.
The spotlight was also on the entity’s General Manager Mohamed Sattaur, who it is felt was quite aware of some of the financial improprieties.
Kaieteur News understands that the special audit was completed and a report handed over to the Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Prem Misir last week.
This newspaper was reliably informed that the board met on Friday last and deliberated on the report and had given both Sattaur and Goolsarran 72 hours to respond to some of the observations contained in the report, which they did on Monday.
After studying the responses, the board prepared some recommendations which were sent to the HPS and President Donald Ramotar in his capacity as Minister of Information.
It is expected that a decision will be made soon.
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.
Since then, he has retained a stranglehold on the NCN, despite allegations of mismanagement which came to light following parliament’s chopping of the entity’s budgeted subvention.
The company’s management had lashed out at the cuts initiated by the parliamentary opposition, claiming that it will significantly affect capital works and would impact on the employment of staff.
However, from all indications the budget cuts have revealed another side of the coin, one that points to mismanagement and financial irregularities.
According to a reliable source, after the budget cuts the Board of Directors had perused several financial documents which gave rise to several questions.
Kaieteur News understands that the board questioned the amount of money NCN made on the recently held GT&T Song competition.
There are reports that some of the revenue such as production costs cannot be accounted for. In fact, while the NCN charged the telephone company production costs, somewhere in the vicinity of $7M, staff members who worked on the production are alleging that they were not paid.
“There might be many other cases like this. It is not $10,000, its millions,” one NCN insider said.
Then there is the purchase of a multi-million-dollar outside broadcast vehicle, which is presently lying unused in the compound following its acquisition several months ago.
“Until some pressure is brought to bear on the top management of the NCN the company will continue operating as if it is the property of a few,” the source said.
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