Avoke, Ackorlie head to court to compel UEW to reinstate them

General News of Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

2018-11-27

Professor Mawutor Avoke

Lawyers for the dismissed Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Professor Mawutor Avoke, and former Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, have stated that they will head to court again in a bid to compel the University to reinstate their clients.

After the Supreme Court had quashed a High Court decision that triggered their dismissal, the pair had served notice they were returning to the University on Monday, with a letter from their lawyers asking the UEW’s Governing Council to “prepare their offices” for them to resume official duties.

After the Supreme Court had quashed a High Court decision that triggered their dismissal, the pair had served notice they were returning to the University on Monday, with a letter from their lawyers asking the UEW’s Governing Council to “prepare their offices” for them to resume official duties.

However, they failed to show up on Monday after the Governing Council described the request as baseless and threatened to declare them as “persona non-grata” should they step their foot on campus with the intention to occupy their offices.

According to one of their lawyers, Harold Atuguba, who spoke on Eyewitness News, they had advised their clients to stay away from the school following the threats from the UEW’s Governing Council.

He stated that they would seek a ruling from the court to force the University to welcome their clients back.

“There is a recipe for chaos and we have advised our clients not to go there and raise the political barometer. What we know best is to secure the rights and secure all the entitlements of our clients to the law courts.

“If some group of persons feel they have a sense of entitlement so they can use brute force to circumvent the law, we will not engage them on that path. What we will do is go back to the court and have the court enforce the effect of their judgement.”

The genesis of Avoke’s woes

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

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.

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