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Atiku’s media firm, GOTEL, disengages staff, stops transmission over bankruptcy 

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Atiku’s media firm, GOTEL, disengages staff, stops transmission over bankruptcy 

Story from Saleh Inuwa, kano

Gotel Communications Limited, the media company owned by former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, is facing financial difficulties and has allegedly gone bankrupt, prompting the shutdown of its transmission, sources report.

Based in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, Gotel Communications operates television and radio stations. However, due to a lack of funds, the company recently disengaged its staff and ceased transmission.

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Reports reveal that the media organization, currently employing over 40 individuals, only paid one month’s salary out of five owed months and sent its staff home indefinitely. Additionally, the company has accumulated a liability of unpaid leave allowances for three years and unremitted pensions for 16 months, according to an anonymous staff member.

The financial strain has rendered Gotel Communications unable to fuel its generators, causing the transmission shutdown. The Priam Group, the umbrella body of Atiku Abubakar’s companies, which had previously supported the media company by financing salaries, has reportedly decided against providing any further assistance.

The situation worsened after a downsizing in 2016 aimed at addressing financial obligations. Moreover, the non-payment of salaries has been a recurring issue since Atiku Abubakar’s presidential campaigns in 2019 and 2023, according to the staff member.

In response to claims made by the former Vice President that staff members colluded with the previous management to defraud him, the staff member denies any involvement and places responsibility on individuals close to Atiku Abubakar who were responsible for engaging the previous management in 2013 under the late CEO, John Chiahemen.

The staff member suggests that a forensic audit can help identify those responsible for the misappropriation of funds.

Sources from the Priam Group Management, led by Vinod Tripath, an Indian national, indicate that the financial situation of Gotel Communications is beyond salvageable.

However, Mohammed El’Yakub, the company’s General Manager, refutes claims of closure and disengagement, stating that the staff members were asked to stay home temporarily for organizational reorganization purposes. El’Yakub explains that the company plans to transition from terrestrial to celestial transmission and resume operations.

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