The General Manager of Radio Bayelsa, Mr John Idumange has raised alarm over the disappearance of N2.5 million that should have accrued to the station’s account, stressing that the proceed was revenue paid for outstation broadcast.
Idumange who withheld N1.7 million loan repayments to a commercial bank has said that he had submitted a written petition to the Bayelsa Police Command on the alleged ‘disappearance’ of the station’s accountant with the revenue.
“The Accountant of Radio Bayelsa had connived with our client and collected the said amount for live coverage of a function organized by Bayelsa State House of Assembly,” the General Manager stated.
“Subsequently the police traced and arrested the fleeing accountant, the cashier of the station has also been arrested, but my investigation showed that the accountant acted alone.”
“I have therefore called the husband to the cashier to arrange to take his wife on bail because of her children,” Idumange said.
Mr Asinim Butswat, a Deputy Superintendent of Police and Spokesman for Bayelsa Police Command said that the petition has been transferred to the Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department of the Command.
However workers at the station dismissed the petition as a ploy by the General Manager to cover up his tracks.
Meanwhile in a reaction to the development, Mr Tonye Yeimoliegha, the Radio Bayelsa chapel Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) condemned the use of Police to resolve administrative issues.
He said that workers’ unions in the Bayelsa government-owned Radio station have again expressed sadness that the police, rather than established public service procedures, are used in resolving issues.
The labour dispute at the FM station which commenced following Idumange’s appointment in December 2016 reached a climax on February 22, 2017 when the General Manager reportedly flogged four union leaders at their duty posts.
The union leaders were allegedly flogged for organizing workers for a strike.
Staff sources in Radio Bayelsa however said that the real cause of the dispute was that the accountant had tried to recover N1.7 million deductions from workers’ salaries from January 2017 till date.
The workers who pleaded to remain anonymous for fear of intimidation said that the accountant did not err by lodging the revenue with the bank that granted the facility to Radio Bayelsa staff to offset the loan.
Idumange, on assumption of duty as GM on December 6, 2016 said he was fighting corporate fraud and made series of arrest and other administrative changes that pitched the labour unions of NUJ and RATTAWU against him.
The unions equally called for his removal stating that he lacks managerial competence and leadership dexterity to oversee the place.
“Radio Bayelsa is almost dead. Our studios are non-functional, take a visit to the recording studio and see things for yourself,” a union leader said.
“Since he came, the state House of Assembly has paid us three instalments, amounting to about N7m but what tangible thing has he done to boost production output, which is our primary baseline of assessment.”
“Idumange boasted of increased revenue but he is yet to remit internally generated revenue to government.”
“We only hope that the governor removes this man because for us, Radio Bayelsa has moved from bad to worse,” the union leader concluded.
The Information Commissioner declined to respond on the issues when contacted.