An alleged sale of one of the digital channels of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) has triggered a simmering tension among some staff of the state broadcaster.
GBC announced weeks ago that it was merging two of its channels – GBC Govern and GBC 24 – to create what it now calls GBC News channel. It explained the merger was done to ensure “efficiency”.
But highly-placed sources within the Corporation have revealed the state broadcaster has entered into a contract with KBL, a privately-owned company by the JOSPONG Group of Companies.
The 400,000-dollar contract will see the private company operate a new station, Adwinpa, on the erstwhile GBC Govern channel, the sources told a TV3 investigative team
Information gathered by the team indicated that the deal has no specific duration as it was signed in perpetuity.
Further investigations revealed that three top officials of GBC played frontline roles in negotiating this deal, which sources claim, was sole-sourced to KBL.
The deal was said to have been reported to the board’s sub-committee on projects and programmes only after it had been signed and sealed.
Further, members of the sub-committee, the investigation team gathered, questioned why they were kept out of the negotiations of the deal. It is unclear what explanation was given to the committee.
Though 400,000 dollars was quoted to the sub-committee as the full cost of the alleged sale of the channel, at a meeting held at East Legon in Accra, a selected staff of GBC and all channel managers were told the contract sum was 350,000 dollars.
Sources within the Corporation said the apparent discrepancies in the figure have triggered suspicions as the figure given the staff is short of 50,000 dollars of the original amount.
Again, TV3’s investigative team discovered that there is a plan by GBC to enter into similar deals which will see its GTV Life channel and Ga channel Obonu TV being operated by private entities.
Reliable sources told the TV3 team Chinese company, Star Times, is also in talks with GBC to take over its sports channel, GBC Sports Plus.
No contract signed yet
But a statement from the management of the Corporation on the matter said the govern channel, GBC Govern, has not been sold.
“There is not contractual relationship between GBC and KBL. The nature is one that is forged on an MOU expressing the intention of GBC and KBL to collaborate on providing content, personnel and technology,” it said.
It said GBC is a state owned organization hence management does not have the authority to dispose of any assets belonging to the state without recourse to government.
Under the deal it described as partnership, GBC will be required to provide the platform and the personnel to run the station and produce programmes while “KBL will provide equipment, content and finance”.
It explained further that the other the channels hosting Obonu TV, GTV Life and GTV Sports Plus have equally not been sold to McDan Group of Companies as alleged.
GBC’s dealing with Star Times, according to the statement, is only related to the Ghana Premiere League rights.
GBC Board, NMC to meet on the issue
Meanwhile, TV3 can state that there are a number of crucial meetings in the coming days involving the various stakeholders on this controversial matter.
The GBC Board is scheduled to meet on Friday following a stiff opposition from the GBC Staff Union to the alleged sale.
Again, the National Media Commission is set to meet management of GBC over the matter this week.
Efforts at getting a comment from KBL owners and Executive Chairman of JOSPONG Group of companies, Dr Siaw Agyapong, have not been successful. They are yet to respond to calls and direct messages.