Over the period 2011 to May 2015, the National Communications Network (NCN) paid in excess of $28 million to 35 persons employed at the then Office of the President (OP) to monitor, analyse and report on the content of media reports.
These 35 media monitors, while contracted by NCN, were not located at NCN neither did they perform any duties for NCN or report to any official at NCN; instead they were reporting directly to Kwame McCoy at OP.
This information was made public through a forensic audit report of NCN, released on Friday via the Ministry of Finance website. The report, prepared by Parmesar Chartered Accountants, explained that each of the employees was expected to monitor the transmission of television/radio programmes for content, provide report/analysis for each day of the week on a 24-hour basis and prepare reports on the dates monitored with supporting tapes/reports for verification.
It was further noted that these employees would on a monthly basis submit an invoice for payment to NCN.
“Employees were required to uplift payments from the NCN’s head office,” the report explained, adding, “Mr McCoy would write to the NCN human resources manager when changes were required.”
NCN spent $28,813,756 on media monitors during the period 2011 to May 2015.
Last year, Ministry of the Presidency Communications Director Mark Archer announced the dismissal of just over a dozen persons who were being paid through NCN to do political propaganda work for the PPP/C administration. Their supervisor, Jason Abdullah, was the only one stationed at OP and he had explained that their duties entailed writing ghost letters, monitoring Facebook and responding to criticisms of the past administration as directed by McCoy. Abdullah was also fired.
The audit report identifies all 35 media monitors and their period of employment. Included in that list is Renata Rohee a daughter of PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee, who was employed throughout the existence of the unit and earned a total of $2,394,000. Also named was Javed Mustapha, identified in the report as being related to the PPP’s Zulfikar Mustapha.