Media Commission reacts to GNA Board’s directive to GM to proceed on leave

Following the directive of the Board of Directors of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to the General Manager, Nana Appau Duah to proceed on an indefinite leave from Friday, April 15 2011, the National Media Commission (NMC) has issued the following statement:

“The attention of the National Media Commission has been drawn to a story on Joy FM suggesting that the Board of Directors of the Ghana News Agency has asked the General Manager to proceed on leave.

“The Commission wishes to remind the general public that the authority to appoint, dismiss or otherwise direct a Chief Executive of any state-owned media, including the Ghana News Agency, to proceed on leave rests with the Media Commission. Consequently, any directive purported to have been issued by anybody other than the National Media Commission has no basis in law.

The Commission wishes to assure Ghanaians that concerns raised by the staff of GNA against the General Manager are being examined by the Legal and Free Expression Committee of the Commission. In due course, all parties may have the opportunity to present their case before the Committee for effective and effectual resolution of all matters at the Agency.

“In the meantime, we call on all stakeholders to exercise restraint and commit themselves to due process and the rule of law.”

The statement dated April 14, 2011 was signed by Mr George Sarpong, Executive Secretary.

However, in a telephone interview with GNA, the Acting Chairman of the Board, Mr Kodwo Ahlijah, who signed the letter that asked Nana Appau Duah to proceed on leave, challenged Mr Sarpong to refer to the Legislative Instrument (L.I. 680) that established the GNA and find out whether the Board of Directors of the Agency has the power to ask the General Manager to proceed on leave or not.

He said the Board consulted Lawyers before it wrote that letter. “The Board has written to him (Nana Appau Duah). Let him write to the Board to say that it does not have the power to do that,” Mr Ahlijah said.

Mr Ahlijah said it would be irresponsibility on the part of the Board to sit down and allow anything untoward to happen in the Agency, adding: “Do not mind them. We have the responsibility to ensure that there is peace in the Agency for it to operate smoothly. We want to leave a functioning News Agency to the incoming Board.”

Meanwhile, a Spokesman for the workers has advised Nana Appau Duah to stay away from the Agency since the workers do not take instructions from the NMC but the Board.

“When we sent our petition to the NMC they told us that they do not deal with groups or individuals but the Board and asked us to go to the Board. Now we have gone to the Board and the Board has told us that Nana Appau Duah should proceed on leave.

“As far as we are concerned Nana Appau Duah is on indefinite leave with effect from 15 April 2011 and we do not think he would come here to work,” the Spokesman said.

Source: GNA

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