Court Orders NMC, GBC to Compensate Eva Lokko

eva lokko1The Accra High Court has declared as unlawful, the dismissal of a former Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Ms Eva Lokko, by  the board of directors of the corporation in 2005.

It also declared that the actions of the defendants were contrary to the conditions of service for management staff of the GBC and also contravened the provisions of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651).

The court, presided over by Mr Justice E. F. Dzakpasu, said it would have given Ms Lokko her seat back at the GBC but for the fact that her contract period had expired.

It accordingly awarded GH¢20,000 in costs and damages against the National Media Commission (NMC) and the GBC in Ms Lokko’s favour.

The court held that the allegation levelled against her by the board of the GBC, which included “supervising a pervasively fraudulent administration which courted the displeasure of workers resulting in labour unrest,” was false.

“There was no financial maladministration that could be put at the doorstep of the plaintiff,” it said, adding that rather Ms Lokko was making a gradual inroad at solving the long-standing financial malaise of the corporation which should have been supported by the board.

In a 27-page judgement, the court dismissed all counter-claim made by the NMC and the GBC against Ms Lokko, which included “gross incompetence, negligence and inefficiency” in her management of the affairs of the GBC and said the defendants failed to prove those charges.

It said Ms Lokko was dismissed under the pretext of being asked to proceed on leave and the refusal of the defendants to call her back after her leave had expired and in spite of letters she had written to the parties involved on the issue was a pointer to the fact that the real intention behind the move was to dismiss her.

It considered the directive to Ms Lokko to proceed on leave as a panic reaction meant to calm workers who had embarked on demonstrations as a result of a lawful act by the Director-General.

“The board should have known that group of workers on rampage had no justifiable reason for the demonstration than preservation,” the court said.

None of the reasons given by the defendants for the plaintiff to proceed on leave, in the opinion of the court, was justifiable.

The court said Ms Lokko’s performance, in spite of the problems she inherited, was, indeed, a strong indicator that the GBC was making a headway towards  building a viable corporate body.

It said the evidence offered by the GBC against Ms Lokko was merely cosmetic and that some of the witnesses brought to court by the defendants exuded nothing but bias.

What was more surprising of one of the witnesses, according to the court, was his admission that the workers demonstrated against Ms Lokko because she interdicted three colleagues who were arrested by the police in relation to the fraud perpetrated against the corporation.

The court said considering the fact that she had the opportunity to clear her name, in an admirably valiant manner, of the dirt intended to be smeared on her and the fact that she had joined the national crusade in the headship of a national political party for the good governance of the country, which includes protecting those very same state institutions from financial collapse, it (the court) was minded to give her GH¢5,000 general damages against each defendants.

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Story: Mark-Anthony Vinorkor

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