The General Manager of the Delta Broadcasting Service, (DBS), Warri, Mr. Tunde Omonode, is currently facing a panel of inquiry for allegedly cornering some office equipment running into millions of naira.
If indicted by the panel, Omonode who was reportedly queried by the Ministry of Information sometime in 2014 over similar incident including the alleged fraud of N10million which reportedly got missing from the accounts of the station, may be sacked or redeployed.
Sources told BigPen Online that Omonode and other management staff of the station allegedly fingered for investigation have begun lobbying the Ministry and board members through their ‘godfathers’ to save their jobs.
The embattled GM is currently lobbying politicians and influential persons to penetrate the panel to convert the recommended sack option to a lesser punishment, it was learnt.
Credible sources revealed that Omonode, allegedly connived with a staff in the engineering department, simply identified as Oboyo to convey several office equipments to his private house in Udu area of the state but when the development was later discovered, he reportedly turned around to accuse Oboyo of stealing.
The source said that the GM, in bid to save his name constituted a panel of inquiry at the station which he later influenced to declare Oboyo guilty of some of the accusations.
Irked by this development, Oboyo filed a petition to the Board of Directors of the establishment detailing the alleged fraudulent role of the GM, which led to the setting up of the panel.
The panel which comprises members of the board, Ministry of Information and some selected union members in the establishment, were shock to discover that the General Manager was deeply involved in the alleged stealing of some properties belonging to the station, BigPen Online has learnt.
Giving a graphic details of the development, a staff of the establishment who pleaded anonymity said that for the past four years the station has lost two thunder arrestors and several items to unknown persons but following investigations, fingers of conspiracy were pointed at the direction of the General Manager.
“The GM accused a staff in the engineering department of the station, of stealing a video camera from the station’s Outside Broadcast (OB) van and the GM set up a panel to investigate the staff but the panel, we discovered danced to the tune of the GM and found the staff guilty with recommendation for his compulsory retirement”.
“The panel further recommended that the staff forfeits half of his entitlements to replace the stolen item”.
“Because of the manner the GM’s panel dispersed justice against the staff, the already dismissed staff had to petition the board.
“Following the petition, the board set up a panel with members drawn from the board, the union, ministry of the information.
“The panel was able to discovered series of fraudulent practices by the GM. But as I talk to you, the panel has not given its recommendations”.
“The panel discovered that the GM took home the following items from the station’s guest house, (6) beds, (12) pillows, (6) foams, (2) ’32’ inches LCD television sets, (1) ’42’ inches plasma television sets and (2) standing split unit air conditioners given to the station by the ministry of information.
“The panel is recommending for the GM sack but he is seriously lobbying, using politicians and influential persons to beg the panel to convert his sack to lesser punishment.” our source added.
Speaking anonymously, a Director in the board, picked holes on the panel decision to allowed the GM in office while they carry out his investigation over the theft allegations.
The GM had been found wanting of the allegations, he said adding that it will be a great disservice to the people should the panel capitulate.
“I am in touch with the board and we get reports day in, day out from that station. Whenever it rains while other four private stations in the area are on air, the Delta radio will be off the air due to lack of funds to purchase thunder arrestor.
“The rains are here again, and the station as usual would be off the air while the GM does nothing than cornering office equipments to himself.
“The board decided to look into the treasury of the station and was annoyed with the GM. Sometime ago, the GM forced a staff to pay for a stolen thunder arrestor. This staff paid the sum of N140, 000 to the GM in his office for the stolen arrestor and this money was never receipted for.
“Head of the department was also made to pay some money too and the GM never receipted it too. In April, 30th, 2016, another arrestor was stolen and a panel was set up for the same staff but after investigation, the panel exonerated him”.
“There was also a case of stolen three air conditioners in the programme department and also on two occasions the batteries of the standby generators were stolen and the GM never bothered to set up a panel because he knows what he is doing.” the Director said.
Omonode, when contacted, denied all the allegations against him however said while answering his query that he took the items for safety purpose based on previous incident of theft in the premises but failed to notified the management and board members, thus fueling suspicious of theft.
In a letter of defense signed and addressed to the panel of investigation, a copy of which was obtained by BigPen Online, the embattled GM owned up that he actually took away the items since 2015 to his home but for apparently “Safe Keeping”.
“It is true that am in possession of some of these equipment, but this action was done in good faith to ensure that those Guest house materials were not stolen, misused or destroyed.
“We had a guesthouse on the demand of the union. The Guest house contained two rooms with two beds each, split units standing A/Cs and Televisions”.
“I have in my possession, (3) family size bed, (3) family size foams, (2) television set 32 inches and 42inches LG, (2) A/Cs ( standing split units) and (6) pillow cases.
“I decided to move them to my house because of the safety based on track incident of theft in the premises”, Omonode said in his defense letter.
The panel shall on Thursday, June, 29, 2017 during the board’s monthly meeting give its findings and recommendations.