General News of Monday, 26 November 2018
The Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) says, the “dismissed” Professor Mawutor Avoke cannot return to the university as its Vice-Chancellor as he is claiming.
According to the university, the move by Prof Avoke by writing through his lawyer, requesting that the university prepares his office for his return as Vice-Chancellor today, Monday, November 26, 2018, was not only wrong in law but had no factual basis.
In a reply letter dated Friday, November 23, 2018, and signed by Prof. Emmanuel Nicholas Abakah, Chairman of the Governing Council, the UEW said, Prof Avoke would be declared “persona non-grata and dealt with in accordance with the law should he assemble on campus” for the purpose of following the “naïve” advice of his lawyer that he was “coming to re-occupy” the former office.
The embattled Vice-Chancellor of the UEW, on November 20, 2018, initiated a move to get his position back at the university.
Prof Avoke and Dr Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, also an estranged Finance Officer of the UEW, through their lawyer, Harold Tivah Atuguba of Atuguba and Associates, asked the University to prepare their offices and make available to them the necessary tools and resources necessary for them to resume work not later than Monday, November 26, 2018.
They also asked the UEW to pay all the entitlements due them, which the university, “illegally and unreasonably withheld from them from the time of their illegal interdictions, through to their illegal dismissals, and to date.”
Prof Avoke and Dr Ackorlie argued in the said letter that, since the Supreme Court on October 31, 2018, quashed the High Court in Winneba’s decision of May 2nd, 2018 that declared their appointments as “null and void”, they were entitled to return to their positions.
But in a reply signed by Chairman of the Governing Council of the UEW, it said, the dismissals were done by subjecting Prof Avoke and the others to due process.
According to the university, the High Court Judgment which the Supreme Court quashed was never a legal matter brought to the attention of the University nor the Council.
“Take note that, the said judgment was not executable as they were only declaratory and, therefore, could not have been the basis of the dismissal of your clients.
“Indeed, the said quashed judgment was delivered several months after your clients had been dismissed from the University on various grounds of gross misconduct and other serious breaches of rules and regulations governing their appointment as staff of the University.
“Secondly, the decision to dismiss your clients was the decision of the Governing Council of the University and not at the instance of any court decision, directive or consequential orders.
“Therefore, your warp interpretation of the Supreme Court Judgment delivered on the 31st October, 2018, that your clients be reinstated is not only wrong in law but has no factual basis,” by Prof. Emmanuel Nicholas Abakah wrote.
It would be recalled that the UEW matter started with a lawsuit initiated in May 2017 by Supi Kofi Kwayera, a former Assembly Member for Donkoryiem, a suburb of Winneba, against the UEW.
Mr Kwayera, in his legal action, claimed that the tenure of the Governing Council of the UEW elapsed in November 2013 after its members had served two 2-year terms.
According to him, the Ministry of Education failed to constitute a new governing council and allowed the defunct council to continue to operate, contrary to Section 8 of the University of Education, Winneba Act (Act 672).
He also argued that the Governing Council of the UEW appointed certain officers of the university, such as the vice-chancellor Mawutor Avoke the registrar and the finance officer and also “approved academic board recommendations for the award of certificates and honorary degrees’’, although it had “no such mandate’’.
The applicant further claimed that the council awarded “contracts to several companies to undertake projects without recourse to the Procurement Act 663’’.
He therefore, sought reliefs such as a “declaration that the extension of the mandate of the governing council of the 1st respondent by the 2nd respondent to stay in office to perform such functions as a properly appointed council was in breach of Section 8 of Act 672 and a declaration that all decisions taken by the de facto body of persons who constituted themselves as the governing council are null and void and of no effect”.
He prayed the court to order the refund of all amounts expended by the university on any contract which “side-stepped the dictates of the Procurement Act’’.
In effect, his case was that Prof Avoke’s appointment was illegal.