Galaxy TV in Distress? Owner, Steve Ojo Fingered in Financial Indiscipline

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Galaxy TV in Distress? Owner, Steve Ojo Fingered in Financial Indiscipline

Galaxy TV in Distress? Owner, Steve Ojo Fingered in Financial Indiscipline
January 29
12:29 2021

The on-going spat between a leading media agency, mediaReach, and Galaxy Television (both business partners), has assumed a new dimension, as reports have emerged that the refusal of the management of the television station to open its books for accounts reconciliation is as a result of financial difficulties and likely discrepancies capable of plunging the station in distress.

Recently, there has been a report of crisis arising from documents and data-backed reconciliation of account, which the media specialist agency has presented but disputed by the broadcasting organisation president without documentary evidence to the contrary.

It is alleged that even adverts compliance monitoring reports is also at variance with some claims but instead of a civil and professional resolution on the contrary views, perhaps due to financial pressure as a result of the current economic situation, the TV station owner, Steve Ojo, opted for “forced extraction of commitment” by involving the Police to help in the intimidation of the personnel of the media specialist agency in forcing the organisation to pay a debt they have disputed with documentary evidence.

However, the Police authority, we gathered, have advised the parties to apply civil crisis management solution to the issue.

Information has revealed that the station, owned by Steve Ojo, has refused to accede to accounts reconciliation because of some financial infractions.

According to investigation, the financial indiscipline discovered in the station was attributed to the resolve of the owner to save the crippling fortune of his hotel, Platinum Apartments & Suites located within Ikeja GRA, Lagos.

The hospitability business has since become a shadow of what a guest house should be. According to a source, for the business to get back on course, there would be need for the injection of substantial funds very urgently. This may not be unconnected to the reason Ojo is now leveraging on its TV station partners to extract debts not necessarily owed.

For the business to get back on its course, a source revealed, there will be need for the injection of substantial funds very urgently. This may not be unconnected to the reason Chief Ojo is now leveraging on its TV station partners to extract debts not necessarily owed.

“It is perhaps as a result of having his hands into too many service driven businesses with no clear corporate governance that has led to the recent crisis bedevilling Chief Ojo’s business concerns,” the source, which pleaded anonymity, stated.

According to a recent publication in ThisDay Newspapers, the dispute between the foremost media agency and the broadcast station, Galaxy TV, owned by Chief Ojo, borders on poor accounting process and the inability to reconcile and sign-off appropriately. It stated that the media agency had demonstrated due diligence in ensuring reconciliation of accounts, in line with global best practices with all placements and payment records.

The report expressed that efforts by mediaReach to reconcile and get sign-off on reconciled position with Galaxy TV were not successful due to certain factors, triggered by the television station owner.

In the report, other allegations for the dispute includes the refusal to approve the request for reconciliation of over 14 years, refusal to sign-off on accounts when such are not deemed to be in favour of Galaxy TV even after the company’s finance team has signed off, rejection of third party monitoring report as the basis for compliance and payment and the constant push for reconciliation once the company loses its financial records.

The situation has been allegedly aggravated by Steve Ojo, who, in 2019 was said to have, employed an external auditor, Adesola Adewumi & Co. to undertake a comprehensive reconciliation of its financial transactions with the leading media agency for the period covering 2014 to 2018, an exercise that was unjustifiably not concluded.

According to the publication, a source disclosed that the media agency made concerted efforts to ensure smooth reconciliation, as the statement of account sent to it for the period 2010 to August 2019 was signed-off with the broadcast organisation also in 2019.

It added that instead of taking note of the reconciled accounts, Galaxy finance team was said to have written to the media agency stating that their President requested for a revisit of transactions from 2010 to 2013, which had been signed-off. Again, the TV station requested for another round of transactional review of accounts.

Also revealed, was that after series of meetings with Galaxy TV, the media agency shared on annual basis, all payments made by it from 2007-2019, including the names of banks, account numbers and the dates payments were made, although the information were said to have been presented to the President of Galaxy TV in the past.

The publication stated that other efforts of reconciliation with Chief Ojo includes tripartite meetings with major clients, where it was agreed that expanded reconciliation team comprising the finance team of both organisations as well as their legal representatives and external auditors be set up to hasten the settlement.

It explained that the situation keeps snowballing from one inconclusive meetings and reconciliation attempts to another, with the presence of the Galaxy TV team and that attempts to get the media agency’s explanation was difficult.

The report further pointed out that a director of the agency, Mr. Alaba Fadero, did not immediately respond to THISDAY enquiries. When he eventually caved in to pressure, he said the organisation does not like to join issues, saying the media agency has good relations with many media organisations spanning two decades which has been mutually beneficial, as an international organisation committed to best practices, proper accounting and engagement with partners.

He said it is in this light that they would rather focus on dealing with this issue professionally, rather than engaging with the partner in the media, that the issue is about records, accounting and data. “Any dispute arising from there should be resolved based on best practices of accounting, records and data,” he stated

Also contained in the report were views of Industry watchers, who wondered why it was difficult to resolve the issue if it is true that the team of the frontline media agency was able to present all the needed facts and figures on their operations with Galaxy. They suspected that Galaxy TV might be dealing with the challenge of record keeping, which explains the insistence that mediaReach team be presenting records repeatedly.

It was alleged that the figures pronounced as owed were falsely computed as several payments have not been documented by the media owner.

On the need to tread softly on corporate disputes, a boardroom guru and Managing Director, Enterprise Life Insurance, Nigeria, Mrs. Funmi Omo advised Galaxy TV and the media agency to ensure that the dispute is settled amicably.

On who keeps the records, Mrs. Omo said both parties were supposed to keep adequate records of transactions to avoid this kind of dispute. “Ideally, both parties should have records and keep records,” she stated.

The publication also put forward that several efforts made to get Chief Ojo’s position on the controversy over account reconciliation didn’t succeed. SMS and WhatsApp messages sent to him on Tuesday were not acknowledged, neither did he respond to the email message sent to him on Wednesday.

It mentioned that Chief Ojo was also not accessible on his mobile phone numbers as the time of going to the press, that however, one hopes the issue between the two business partners will be resolved amicably as soon as possible in view of the wrong signals which a protracted battle will send to other industry players at a period when all hands were supposed to be on deck.

A look at Galaxy television station shows that it was not only the first private registered television Station in Nigeria but also the first to broadcast.
It started full broadcasting in May 1994 in Ibadan and for about nine years maintained between 60 – 75 percent viewership in Oyo, Osun and Ogun States. Presently, Galaxy TV Ibadan is rated the number one television station in terms of viewership, and in January 2002, it established a second Galaxy Television Station (Channel 27) in Lagos to ensure full coverage of the Western States. But recently, there has been rumour of signs of financial stress on the business.

On the implication of the current crisis, if not properly managed with the frontline media agency, industry pundits stated that it may discourage other media partners from doing business with the broadcast station and this will drastically affect its revenue generation, and further put pressure on an already troubled business.

They added that the broadcast station should ensure due diligence by taking proper look into their records since all facts have been well articulated by the frontline media agency.

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