Case of the Fake Professor: Faibille, Adei Face-Off
A former Head of Administration and Secretary of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Mr. Mr. Kwame Adjei-Sefah, has told an Accra Fast Track High Court that GIMPA?s Governing Council does not have an appointment letter.
He also revealed that the GIMPA Rector seized his personal files from where they are normally kept to prevent the GIMPA Governing Council from having access to it to assess his tenure and review his contractual terms as Rector of the state-owned tertiary institution.
Mr. Adjei-Sefah said these during his evidence last week after he was subpoenaed to the court by lawyers for Mr. Egbert Faibille, a lawyer and journalist editing the Ghanaian Observer newspaper and plaintiff in the case.
Mr. Faibille, whose newspaper has taken up a crusade on GIMPA, is seeking to have the court stop Dr Stephen Adei from ?fraudulently? holding himself out as a professor at GIMPA when he has not undergone the processes that would enable him to be called a professor according to the statutes, rules and practices at GIMPA.
Mr. Faibille is also seeking an order to have the GIMPA Rector?s position made vacant on the basis that Dr Adei has outlived his tenure of appointment and has been occupying the position illegally and without any letter of appointment.
Under cross examination by Nene Amegatcher, Counsel for Dr. Adei, Mr. Adjei-Sefah said he was unable to draft a re-appointment letter for the endorsement of the Chairman of the GIMPA Council to formalize Adei?s appointment in 2005 after the expiration of his term of office because Adei removed his file from where they are kept denying him access to it to draft the letter.
?My Lord, I did not have Dr. Adei?s file. He had taken his file including that of mine from the office. And so I did not have access to his file to write that letter?, he told the Court.
Nene Amegatcher wanted to know whether Adjei-Sefah, being the Recorder of the Governing Council?s meeting that in principle approved the re-appointment of ?Prof? Adei, performed his duty and responsibility to write or draft a letter for the Chairman of the Council to endorse it for President Kufuor?s consent as required by the GIMPA?s laws and regulations.
Mr. Adjei-Sefah also told the Court that he was virtually disallowed by Dr Adei from performing his duties and functions as Head of Administration and Secretary of GIMPA, citing that as one of the main reasons why he could not write the Rector?s re-appointment letter for him to be formally recognized as such.
He said he was impeded in several ways by the Rector to the extent that it became extremely difficult for him to execute his core duties and responsibilities to GIMPA, and cited the removal of the file of Adei as well as that of his (Adjei-Sefah) from his Secretariat as part of the impediments put in his way.
At this point, Counsel for Adei asked the witness whether his relationship with Adei at GIMPA was cordial. Mr. Adjei-Sefah said it was formal. Not satisfied with the answer, Counsel for Adei repeated the question to which Adjei-Sefah stated that the relationship was cordial.
Earlier, lead Counsel for Adei tendered in a couple of documents, being minutes recorded at the Governing Council?s meetings between January 2005 and July 2005 where the re-appointment of ?Prof? Adei were discussed, as exhibits.
According to the minutes, which had the endorsement of Mr. Adjei-Sefah and which he substantiated in Court, the Council agreed that Adei act as Rector of GIMPA till a new one is appointed at the Council?s meeting held in January 2005.
Counsel for Adei tendered the minutes in and the Court marked it as Exhibit 1. Subsequently, as confirmed by Mr. Adjei-Sefah under cross examination from Counsel for Adei, the Council met in June 30, 2005 where it discussed the appointment of a substantive Rector and a sub-committee formed to search and recommend for the appointment of a new Rector.
The minutes of the meeting as endorsed by witness was also tendered in as Exhibit 2. As corroborated by the witness under cross examination from Adei?s Counsel, at the meeting of the Council?s on July 8, the Council further discussed the appointment of a Rector of the Institute and at a meeting on July 14, 2005 the Council approved the recommendations of the sub-committee for the reappointment of Adei as Rector GIMPA till he retires at the age of 65 years.
At this level, according to Counsel for Adei, it was incumbent on the Recorder of the Council?s meeting, who also doubled as the Head of Administration and Secretary of the Institute, to write the supposed re-appointment letter of the then Acting Rector for the endorsement of the Chairman of the Governing Council for it to be forwarded to the office of the President of Ghana for final approval.
Counsel for Adei then asked witness whether any other person employed by the Institute, according to the laws and statutes of GIMPA, had the power to override a decision by the Governing Council.
He wanted to know from witness whether himself (Mr. Adjei-Sefah) or the Chairman of the Council, Mr. Boohene, had the powers of the Institute to override decisions of the Council, hence their failure or refusal to write a reappointment letter to formalize Adei?s reappointment.
In response, Mr. Adjei-Sefah said neither himself nor Mr. Boohene had that powers to overrule the Council?s decision but argued that he did not receive instructions from his boss, Chairman of the Council, to write any such letter.
Earlier, Mr. Adjei-Sefah had told the court that the establishment law of GIMPA, ACT 676 provides that the Rector of GIMPA must be appointed by the GIMPA Council and that the appointment must be by way of a letter of appointment to which will be attached the conditions of service for the position of Rector.
According to him, at the first meeting of the GIMPA Council sometime in 2005 at which he was present, Dr. Adei informed the Council that his tenure as the then Director General of GIMPA had come to an end in December, 2004 and that he wanted his contract renewed.
Mr. Adjei-Sefah said in evidence that hat the Council proceeded to appoint Dr. Adei as Acting Rector of GIMPA, (which letter was drafted by him for the signature of the GIMPA Council Chair) and set up a four member sub-committee to act as search party for the position of Rector. He said the sub-committee reported to the Council and recommended that Dr. Adei be appointed the Rector.
`My Lord, the Council after receiving this report resolved to appoint Dr. Adei as Rector of GIMPA for a second term but said that the terms and conditions of service for the Rector were to be discussed at another meeting before an appointment letter was issued to Dr. Adei. My Lord, by the statutes of GIMPA, the President of the Republic is also to be informed by letter prior to the issuance of the letter of appointment to the Rector and that letter to the President was also not sent when I was Secretary to GIMPA,` Mr. Adjei-Sefah further told the Court.
?My Lord, Dr. Adei was also not given an appointment letter as Rector of GIMPA by the Council when I was at GIMPA, Mr. Adjei-Sefah further told the Court, agreeing with counsel for Egbert Faibille, Mr. James Agalga, that by the provision of Section 22(3) of GIMPA`s establishment law, Dr. Adei cannot say that he is the properly appointed Rector of GIMPA as he has not got a letter of appointment.
Turning to the issue of whether or not Dr. Adei is a properly appointed Professor at GIMPA who is entitled to use the title Professor, Mr. Adjei-Sefah told the Court in response to further questions from Mr. Agalga that there is an Appointments and Promotions Committee at GIMPA to which he was Secretary at all material times by virtue of his being Secretary of GIMPA and the work of that committee is to vet and recommend to the Council whether or not applicants for positions at GIMPA should be appointed or otherwise.
He told the Court that by GIMPA`s statutes the only professorship grades known at GIMPA are Associate Professor and Full Professor and that the position of Adjunct Professor, which means `Part time Professor` which Dr. Adei claims to hold is not known at GIMPA by its statutes.
Asked if as Secretary to GIMPA`s Appointments and Promotions Board, the committee vetted and gave approval or recommended to the GIMPA Council for any person to be appointed Professor at GIMPA, Mr. Adjei-Sefah said `My Lord, I recall Dr. Attafuah`s case. He applied to be made a Professor at GIMPA and his application was considered by the Committee and referred to a panel of three external assessors headed by Prof. S.A. Nkrumah of the University of Ghana for assessment and subsequent approval before Dr. Attafuah was accepted and appointed a Professor at GIMPA by the Council. My Lord, other applicants from outside who were already Professors before they came to GIMPA had their applications vetted and they had to provide evidence of their being appointed professors elsewhere before they were accepted and appointed as Professors at GIMPA.`
He further told the Court that at GIMPA, all appointments to the Associate Professor or Full Professor grade(s) must have the prior approval of the GIMPA Council and that whilst he was Secretary at GIMPA the GIMPA Council did not approve any appointment in favour of Dr. Adei as Professor.