Govt Sells Gama Films Cheaply To Cronies…

The Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) has sold the GAMA Film Company (GFC) Limited to Media General Ghana Limited, operator of TV3, which is owned by persons believed to be fronting for powerful persons in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, for an unthinkable amount of GH¢5 million.

The transaction was completed last week.

The DIC Board and President John Dramani Mahaha approved the sale of the profit-making state-owned GFC to Media General at what some valuers say is a giveaway price, after the Architectural and Engineering Services had valued the building at GH¢4 million. The Board decided to sell the property at GH¢5 million, which dealers in real estate players affirmed is pea nuts. According to independent valuers, the prime area land owned by GFC alone costs more than GH¢ 5 million.

The DIC usually sells non-performing state-owned enterprises but since GFC is viable and makes enough money to pay its workers, suspicion of a sleight of hand deal surrounding the divesting of the company is rife among the workers. Our sources disclosed that there was a deliberate scheme by the government, the GFC management and the DIC who connived with the owners of Media General to cripple GFC for TV3 to take over the company.

“TV3 decided to starve us of funds and refused to pay rent and for the use of the studio. They refused to pay our the productions like “Chorkor Trotro” and “Shoeshine and Barber” even after the sponsors have paid TV3. They brought Jude to destroy the company so that TV3 can acquire GFC,” the sources stated.

Our sources said the current Managing Director of GFC, one Jude, was planted by the government to run down the company to enable TV3, whose owners are allied to the NDC, to purchase GFC for a song. The sources cited the case of a South African company which used to rent GFC’s studio for $23,000 but the management later refused to rent the studio to the company without any reason. Since then, the studio has been idle.

On another occasion, the Managing Director informed the DIC that GFC was bankrupt when the truth was that the company was operating profitably. When the DIC brought GH¢39,000 to bail out GFC, the workers protested and declined to take the money. The workers accused Mr. Asakkua Agambila, the Executive Secretary of the DIC, of dodging them whenever they visited him to apprise him of the true state of the company.

“Public Agenda” got in touch with Mr. Agambila and asked him about the sale of GFC — he confirmed the divestiture and the approval by the Board and President Mahama. But he disagreed that the GH¢ 5 million was cheaper than what pertains in the property market. When queried why the divestiture did not go through competitive as required by the DIC law, he explained that the law provides that the first option should be given to the occupant of the property in the event of a sale. He further stated that it was only the head office building of GFC that was sold.

When pressed about the status of GFC’s studio, equipment and other assets, Mr. Agambila restated that it was the building alone that was divested. He said GFC’s cinema halls and other properties at Asamankese, Koforidua, Accra and other places are not included in the deal. But he informed this paper that the workers have been laid off. The workers, however, dismissed his claim as smacking of dishonesty and insincerity.

Former employees of the Ghana Film Industry Corporation, the predecessor of GFDC, and many observers condemned the sale of GFC because they believe it does not make business sense to divest it when it is profitable. “A political mafia has a interest in the deal but it is Ghana that will lose in the final analysis. The price TV3 bought GAMA film is chicken feed,” one ex-employee lamented.

Public agenda

Source: Public Agenda