Ghana once again is participating in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt, but while there, the 2014 World Cup blues are still rearing their ugly heads with Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) allegedly caught deep in financial malfeasance, according to the Auditor- General.
But, Management of GBC would have none of that and has expressed its dismay at the decision of the Auditor-General not to take the Corporation’s response into consideration before concluding its report which has declared GBC guilty of understating over GH¢3 million of the revenue from the 2014 World Cup coverage.
The report of the Auditor-General on Special Audits carried out on selected State institutions in the year 2018 but released this year found that GBC understated revenue realised for the 2014 World Cup by GH¢3,464,878.59.
The Auditor-General advised Management to update the financial Statements and properly account for the GH¢3,464,878.59, failure of which officers of GBC, who were responsible, shall be surcharged with the amount after the outfit failed to provide required documents to the officers of the Audit Service for over three months before close of audit.
Management of GBC, in an interview with Corruption Watch (CW), however described the report as unfortunate and accused the Audit Service of deliberately not taking the response and supporting documents provided by the Corporation into account before releasing the report which seeks to tarnish the image of the Corporation.
The Director of Finance, Ebenezer Botwi, told CW that management responded when the officers of the Audit Service requested for further explanation on the unstated GH¢3, 464,878.59 and attached all available documents with appendixes for further understanding.
He said GH¢3,464,878.59 was not as a result of revenue being understated but rather unrealised revenue.
According to Mr Botwi, in the wake of preparing for the 2014 World Cup, the Corporation formed a consortium with other media houses in the country to telecast the tournament after which revenue made through advertisements was shared among the media houses, with GBC taking the majority share of 50% of every amount made.
A total of 26 companies expressed interest in advertising before the tournament but only 13 participated eventually, with 12 making payments and three new companies which were not part of the initial projections also participating. In all 16 companies participated.
The total revenue made from the 12 companies which made payments was GH¢8, 360,000 and the three also generated a total revenue of GH¢770, 000, bringing the total revenue made to GH¢ 9,130,000.00.
Among the 16 companies whose adverts were played, Ghana Revenue Authority was the only company which failed to make payment according to the Daily Log prepared by OMP, the marketing company that handled the transactions.
The projected revenue for the projected 26 advertisers was over GH¢4,985,000, but the reduction to 13 advertisers in effect resulted in the total revenue made dropping to GH¢ 9,130,000, hence the difference GH¢3,464,878.59.
He further explained that the amount dropped by GH¢3,464,878.59 because their projected revenue dropped and not because they understated revenue.
Apart from the difference, GBC denied responsibility for the revenue collection as according to the Corporation, the consortium employed the services of a marketing company (OMP) which was made in-charge of recording the number of companies that came on board as well as collecting revenues and paying to members of the consortium.
“It is not possible to surcharge management for a revenue which was not made. We explained to the audit officers with supporting documents. What we don’t understand is why they chose to ignore our explanations as well as the proof of the adverts we run and released a report which is negative for the image of the Corporation,” he noted.
Mr Botwi called on the authorities to bring in a third party to review their evidence and that of the Audit Service for an independent report to be released.
Documents given to the officers of the audit service, according to GBC, included Daily OMP logs for scheduling on the GBC Airwatch billing software, the Transmission Certificate for all adverts played by GBC, OMP projected report, OMP actual interim collection report as well as OMP Advert Projection, actual collection and log analysis.
Ag Director-General of GBC, Mr Augustus Yamson, told CW that the findings in the Auditor-General’s report could have been as a result of lack of understanding of the operations of a broadcasting institution by the auditors who were assigned to audit the institution, hence their failure to appreciate the response the corporation gave to their request for clarification.
He said he is aware that the Audit Service has the right to take or reject a response: “You can reject our response but I think it’s important to put it on record and indicate in the Auditor General’s Report exactly what our response was although the Audit Service thinks otherwise, that would have reflected a balanced report.
“That would have saved us this embarrassment and not have loved ones contacting management about a supposed understated revenue.
“GBC did not collect any revenue from advertisers, the marketing company did, and we only received our 50% share just like any other member of the consortium did. We have not understated any revenue, we responded per what was made available to us by the OMP.
“We have learnt our lessons from the 2014 World Cup so this AFCON, we have formed another consortium but this time we have not involved any marketing company, members of the consortium have formed a sales team which is handling everything.”
The Corporation, however, admitted its failure to provide the Audit Officers all contract documents and final report of the entire transactions.
This, it said, was due to failure on the part of OMP marketing company to provide a conclusive report to the members of the consortium five years after the tournament even after writing officially to OMP twice without receiving response.
According to management of the Corporation, GBC as the majority shareholder of the consortium, also needed the response and documentation to confirm all figures previously given them by OMP.
Source: Francisca Enchill | Corruption Watch, Ghana