Prosecuting defaulters is not our priority for now – GBC

The Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation [GBC], Dr Akuffo Annor-Ntow said the current focus is to educate Ghanaians to voluntarily pay the fees.

In an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, Dr Annor-Ntow said the current focus is to educate Ghanaians to voluntarily pay the fees.

His comments come as the 11 courts set up to deal with TV license defaulters begin work today [Thursday].

Dr Annor-Ntow said the courts are not expected to start work immediately because “the State’s objective is “not to punish people needlessly.”

“We are not prosecuting anybody [today, Thursday]. The first option is to allow people to go and pay voluntarily. To the extent that it is a law, its enforcement will include that people will default and in the event of deliberate defaults… the possibility exists that you will be prosecuted but that is not our preference.”

He argued that if the corporation takes the punishment position they may fail since it is very early in the year to begin prosecuting defaulters.

“If a person is supposed to paying a TV license for the whole year, why do you arrest such a person on January 4 because a court has been established? It simply doesn’t wash… You can even pay GHc 3 for 12 months. So if I am able to pay GHc 3 and you come and I show you the GHc 3 payment, you can’t effect an arrest because I have paid for the month.”

“If you want people to pay voluntarily, you want to advise them and convince them and bring them along… that is the route we want to adopt. To the extent that it is a law, we want to see it through to the end and to remind the general public that the possibility of prosecution exists” Dr Anoff-Ntow added.

The Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, has set a court in all 10 regions to prosecute TV licence defaulters.

A memo dated December 11 said the courts will sit every Thursday effective January 4, 2018, until otherwise directed.

GBC officially reintroduced the collection of the TV Licence fees in 2015 after years of putting it on hold due to non-payments.

Domestic TV users are to pay between GHc36 and GHc60 for one or more TV sets in a household, while TV set repairers and sales outlets are to pay an annual sum of between GHc60 to GHc240.

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