TAT Probe into GRTS Reveals Nepotism, Incompetence & Injustice Against Female Staff

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GRTS Boss Abdoulie Sey

The latest investigation by The Alkamba Times delves into allegations of staff mistreatment, nepotism, and marginalization of female employees at the state-run Gambia Radio and Television Service. The investigation revealed evidence of favoritism, incompetence, and allegations of misconduct among certain senior management team members.

The state broadcaster, GRTS, is experiencing a significant and unprecedented transformation marked by centralized structures, often called “Kabudism.” This leadership approach, exemplified by the current Director General of GRTS, Abdoulie Sey, favors a particular group; only individuals within this group receive preferential treatment, opportunities, and advantages.

Investigations have shown that integrating Radio and TV newsrooms began during Ebrima Sillah’s term as Director General. However, the subsequent appointments of Abdoulie Sey and Karabulie Conteh, who were deficient in TV skills and management expertise, proved to be adverse. Regrettably, this led to a downturn in both newsrooms, as conflict was favored over competent management.

Sillah has implemented substantial positive reforms at GRTS, yet his decision to merge both newsrooms is leading GRTS toward a gradual decline. 

“It is worth noting that Mr. Abdoulie Sey previously served as the Director of News & Current Affairs before he was appointed DG. During his tenure, he was criticized for the poor management of the Newsroom, which ultimately contributed to its decline,’ an insider told the TAT investigating team. 

Several sources described DG Sey as exhibiting favoritism and manipulation towards those he dislikes, resulting in massive resignations due to his adept manipulation of management dynamics.

Prejudice against Female Staff 

Our Investigations reveal that one of GRTS’s top presenters, Fatoumatta Ceesay, departed the institution for a better opportunity. An insider revealed that Mr. Sey harbored animosity towards Fatoumatta because she refused to adhere to his unfair principles and mismanagement. Allegedly, Sey vowed that as long as he led the Newsroom, Fatoumatta would not benefit from GRTS. Additionally, Abdoulie Sey purportedly influenced management to make life difficult for the star presenter, resulting in harsh memos, grudges, and instigated conflicts. Despite her outstanding performance, Sey and Conteh ensured Fatoumatta was denied several travel opportunities. After securing a better job, Fatoumatta resigned from GRTS, leaving a significant void.

“Abdoulie Sey and Karabulie Conteh have also exhibited significant bias against star Presenter Fatou Janneh Mbai. They’ve attempted to demoralize her, suspended her a few times, excluded her from news presentation duties, and favored individuals aligned with their interests for coveted roles. Conteh even advocated and instigated to have her clothing allowance stopped, all geared towards pressuring her into resigning. This hostility towards Presenter Mbai is rooted in her refusal to engage in corrupt practices or submit to their unfair demands. They’ve consistently targeted her within the institution, unfairly depriving her of opportunities and unceasingly undermining them,” one of the insiders said. 

Another source said Karabulie and Mr. Sey relentlessly suppress senior female staff member Mama Jaye. 

“They demote and demoralize her, strip her of her duties, and consistently issue memos to tarnish her record. They’ve vowed to exhaust her until she resigns. Karabulie, in particular, seems focused solely on waging war against Mama.” 

Upon assuming the role of DG, Abdoulie Sey relentlessly pursued efforts to sabotage and sideline veteran broadcaster Fatou Sanneh Ceesay until she could no longer endure the mistreatment and chose to resign. 

TAT investigations further noted that Sey and his allies were determined to frustrate Fatou, undermine her leadership, and withhold the respect she deserved, consistently bypassing her authority. 

The same tactic has been directed towards Haddy Badjie of Radio, undermining and showing disrespect for her leadership.

The recurring resignations of staff signal and depict the damage caused by poor management. A significant figure, Finance Director Ya Mundow Gai, resigned from GRTS due to the constant marginalization directed towards her. 

Upon assuming his position, Sey allegedly removed the Secretary to the DG’s office and replaced them with a woman aligned with his faction from the radio. According to insiders and staff, this appointment needed more merit, fairness, or adherence to protocol. Michelle Gibba, identified as one of Sey’s loyalists, had been like an errand girl long before he assumed the role of DG. 

“She lacks the qualifications, knowledge, understanding, writing skills, or professionalism required for the position. Despite this, Sey unfairly ousted the previous Secretary, Amie Corr, and installed Michelle,” another with knowledge of the case said.

The same maltreatment and unfair treatment are being directed toward junior staff who are not aligned with Abdoulie Sey and Karabulie Conteh’s faction. 

One notable and dedicated staff member, Isatou Keita, has left for a secondment due to mistreatment, disrespect, and mismanagement within the institution. “Instead of motivating their staff, they channel their efforts into frustrating talented and bright individuals, ultimately driving them away from the institution.”

The Newsroom Love Affairs 

Then, Mr. Abdoulie Sey, Director of News and Current Affairs, sparked controversy with his alleged involvement in a love affair with a female reporter (Name withheld). According to our probe, their relationship began while both were on the radio and continued after the reporter was transferred to the TV, where she received preferential treatment from the newsroom boss. Despite lacking merit, she was offered international trips, overshadowing the efforts of hardworking and competent reporters. This situation became widely known among GRTS staff. 

Karabulie Conteh: Sey’s Tail 

As Abdoulie Sey ascended to DG, Karabulie Conteh, widely seen as Sey’s right-hand man, assumed the role of acting DNCA. Conteh is often described by newsroom staff as embodying the worst leadership traits, relying heavily on spiritual practices to maintain his position. 

Karabulie Conteh

Conteh is considered the epitome of conniving and spiritual obsession at GRTS. He displays open animosity towards staff he dislikes. Reports suggest he needs to gain an understanding of broadcasting and contribute something creatively, resulting in a newsroom devoid of vitality and talent fleeing from his oppressive leadership. 

Despite his alleged incompetence, he shamelessly selects himself for international coverage, including recently appointing himself for Hajj coverage in Mecca, a clear manifestation of corrupt leadership. 

Conteh harbors particular animosity towards exceptional reporters who refuse to align with his schemes, utilizing some as informants and relentlessly targeting those who resist his agenda. 

He is also alleged to manipulate management to punish young reporters, often orchestrating their redeployment to remote provinces or unjustly suspending them. He infamously prevented a reporter from returning to headquarters after their term in the provinces, extending their exile for almost four years and suspending them when they demanded to return. 

Karabulie also engineered the deployment of a staff member to the provinces despite their complaints of health issues and the presentation of authentic medical documents. He wielded influence over management to suspend the staff member indefinitely.

The Tainted Appointments 

A few months ago, the Director of News and Current Affairs position was advertised internally, with Karabulie Conteh, Momodou Jallow, and Mama Jaye all among the applicants. Despite Mama’s better qualifications, Mr. Conteh and Sey waged a relentless campaign against her candidacy. Notably, both Jallow and Jaye are more qualified than Conteh, boasting Master’s degrees with immense knowledge about the Newsroom, but were denied the position. However, despite his apparent lack of suitability, Sey exerted his influence to secure Conteh’s position. Apart from Conteh’s puppets, the newsroom staff did not celebrate this appointment, raising concerns about future reprisals against the newsroom staff.

The recent appointments at GRTS have raised alarm bells, with only a few deserving of their positions.

In several key roles, less qualified individuals favored more competent candidates. Mass Senghore, criticized for his lack of expertise in engineering and only holding a diploma, was appointed over Bakary Badjie, who has a master’s degree and possesses excellent knowledge and expertise in the field. 

Sey’s influence secured Senghore the position over Bakary. At the same time, senior staff members who challenged management’s corrupt practices were unfairly demoted. Yaya Badjie, a senior technician, was demoted for refusing to engage in unprofessional conduct, while an unskilled individual was promoted above him due to his allegiance to incompetent superiors.

Yankuba Jatta, known for his mastery of corruption and manipulation, has risen through the ranks despite lacking qualifications. Despite his negative impact on the institution, he was appointed Director of Administration and Human Resources over more deserving candidates. 

GRTS, already struggling with limited resources and inadequate facilities, needs to improve as management prioritizes personal gain over institutional development. While staff are denied travel allowances in the name of cost-cutting, Sey and his allies exploit the institution’s funds for their benefit, exacerbating the financial strain on GRTS.

The Alkamba Investigative Team contacted GRTS Director General Abdoulie Sey, who declined to comment on the allegations against him and his management team.

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