General News of Monday, 26 November 2018
The dismissed Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Professor Mawutor Avoke, and former Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, failed to show up on the campus of the university despite serving notice they were going to resume work today, Monday.
The two, who believed the Supreme Court had quashed a High Court decision that triggered their dismissal, asked the Governing Council of the UEW to prepare their offices to as they resume official duties on November 26, 2018.
But in its response, the Governing Council described the request as baseless and threatened to declare the former UEW principal officers as “persona non-grata” should they step their foot on campus with the intention to occupy their offices.
“I want to state for the avoidance of doubt that your clients still remain dismissed staff of the University and will be declared persona non-grata and dealt with in accordance with the law should they assemble on our campus for the purpose of following your naive advice of coming to re-occupy their former offices; be advised” the letter signed by Chairman of the UEW Governing council, Prof. Emmanuel Nicholas Abaka stated.
Citi News checks at the school suggest that Prof. Avoke and Dr. Ackorlie did not report as expected.
Citi News’ Central Regional Correspondent, Calvis Tetteh, reported that academic activities were ongoing smoothly when he visited the school on Monday.
“Checks from the university’s security also suggested that both Avoke and Ackorlie have not been on campus. Efforts to talk to school authorities proved futile,” Calvis added.
The genesis of Avoke’s woes>/b>
The Winneba High Court in 2017 ordered Prof Avoke, to step aside until the case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council was determined.
The case was taken to court by one Supi Kofi Kwayera, who insisted that the Vice Chancellor and the Finance Officer, were operating under the institution’s defunct governing council.
The plaintiff argued that University’s Council’s mandate had expired in November 2013, but the Education Ministry failed to constitute a new Governing Council for the university and rather allowed the defunct Governing Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue in the functions of a properly formed Governing Council.
Supi Kofi Kwayera also alleged financial and procurement irregularities on the part of the Prof Avoke.
The court, in July 2017, then ordered Prof Avoke to step aside until a case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council was determined.
Also in July, Prof Avoke, along with four others; the Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie; Daniel Tetteh, Mary Dzimey and Frank Owusu Boateng, were interdicted by the school after it emerged that some vital documents at some offices at the centre of an ongoing investigation had disappeared.
They were then found guilty of procurement and other financial irregularities in December 2017.
The irregularities had to do with the monies paid to the contractors of the North Campus Roads project.
In August 2018, the UEW governing council dismissed the five principal officers of the institution after a fact-finding committee had been set up to look into the matter.
Prof Avoke had maintained his innocence and had been challenging his indictment in court.
He took the case to the Labour Division of the Accra High Court, but the case was beyond its jurisdiction.
This compelled his challenge in the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court quashes High Court ruling on Avoke’s removal
The Supreme Court on October 31, 2018, overturned a High Court decision which led to the removal of Professor Mawutor Avoke as Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba.
According to the unanimous ruling, the High Court in Winneba failed to take evidence from the parties in the case before granting judgment.
The court also stated that the High Court breached the rule of natural justice by failing to give the defendants a hearing.
The justices of the apex court said the High Court’s actions amounted to an error of law patent on the record.
Following the Winneba High Court’s ruling in December 2017, Prof Avoke, together with some other Principal Officers of the University, was removed by the school’s Governing Council.
Some lecturers described this as politically motivated.
New VC inducted
Rev. Prof. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni was subsequently inducted into office as the 4th Vice Chancellor of the UEW despite Prof. Avoke’s case in court.
President Nana Akufo-Addo attended the induction.
Prior to the induction, Prof. Avoke’s former lawyer, Raymond Atuguba, warned the President he would be abetting an illegality if he went ahead with the induction.
This is because of the case that was pending at the Supreme Court challenging Avoke’s removal.
Prof. Atuguba said he was alarmed by the President’s involvement given his “admirable Rule of Law credentials.”
Prof. Atuguba withdrew his representation of the former Vice-Chancellor in open court because he reportedly said he “sensed unseen hands” manipulating proceedings.
Prepare office for Avoke, Ackorlie
Lawyer for Avoke and Ackorlie, Harold Tivah Atuguba, last week wrote to the Governing Council directing it to prepare the office of his clients to enable them resume work on Monday, November 26, 2018, following a Supreme Court ruling that quashed a High Court’s decision during the aftermath of the dismissal of the two former officers of the university.
According to Harold Atuguba, the Supreme Court’s ruling gives his clients the impetus to resume their official duties unhindered.
“In effect, immediately the said judgment of the High Court, Winneba, was quashed by the Supreme Court on 31st of October 2018, our clients automatically resumed the erstwhile positions they respectively held in the University prior to the decision of the High Court, Winneba dated 2nd May, 2018,” Atuguba stated in letter.
“Prepare their offices and make available to them the necessary tools and resources necessary for them to resume work not later than the 26th of November, 2018,” the lawyers demanded in the letter signed by lawyer Harold Tivah Atuguba, and copied the office of the President and six other state institutions.
But the Governing Council in its response said the High Court’s decision did not lead to the dismissal of the two former officers.