The National Communications Network (NCN) is clearing the air in relation to the out-of-court settlement reached with Merundoi Inc., concerning a debt with the state entity, as revealed in a recent audit report.
According to a press statement issued by NCN this evening, “in relation to the Auditors report that our former CEO Ms. Molly Hassan wrote off millions of dollars of debts by an Advertising Company, we wish to categorically state that Ms. Hassan neither had the authority to do so nor did she write off any debt.”
It further clarifies that ” As CEO, Ms. Hassan always acted in accordance with direction of the Board of Directors. In the case referred to she was asked to enquire whether a debt over 3 years old and incurred in 2011 was legally enforceable, which she investigated and advised upon. She did not write off the debt. The debt remains but it is statute barred. NCN is satisfied that Ms. Hassan always executed her duties with financial rectitude.”
As it relates to Merundoi NCN says the not for profit, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) had approached the company around March 2012 with a “written proposal to make available the production content of Merundoi for NCN broadcasting, with Merundoi paying 50% of the normal broadcast charges and NCN absorbing the remaining 50%.”
Merundoi’s proposal in 2012 was welcoming NCN to partner with the NGO to reach audiences across Guyana in an effort to tackle Gender based violence and other social issues.
However, NCN says it did not respond favourably or otherwise to the proposal but collected the 50% broadcast fees and aired the programme. “In 2014, NCN instituted court proceedings against Merundoi for the 50% of broadcast charges, and the matter engaged the court.”
On April 4, 2016, Merundoi, the statement further notes, “made a proposal to pay $250,000, plus agreed to allow NCN access to 2 previous seasons of programme content of “Merundoi” Radio Serial Drama (over 500 x 15 min episodes) and also to collaborate with NCN to produce a TV Sitcom “Cheap and Sweet”, the pilot of which it had submitted to NCN since 2012.”
At a special meeting on April 7, 2016, the Board unanimously agreed to accept the offer, however Board member Margaret Lawrence, who is the head of Merundoi was absent.
In arriving at the decision, NCN says the Board took account of, among other things, the fact that Merundoi is an NGO, it is not for profit, and it was willing to make the programme content available to NCN and to collaborate on the production of local TV Sitcom.
NCN is refuting reports that the Board’s decision was not unanimous as “untrue and erroneous.”
NCN is welcoming all those indebted to it to engage the company in arriving at settlements for outstanding debts.