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‘I feel pained over false claims about Africa Integras deal’ – Prof. Aryeetey

Immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, says although he’s hurt about false claims of wrongdoing in the $64M infrastructure deal the University signed with Africa Integras during his tenure as Vice-Chancellor, he has learnt to move on.

According to Professor Ernest Aryeetey, all claims of any wrongdoing on his part in the Africa Integras deal are ‘not grounded on facts’.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey accused certain people within the University of Ghana management of misrepresenting and giving out false analysis on the deal in an attempt to tarnish his reputation and legacy.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey in an interview on Citi TV’s Face to Face program with Godfred Akoto Boafo, explained that the University has acts and statutes which prevents the Vice-Chancellor or any University council member to take decisions without recourse to the University council for approval.

He added that being well vexed in the acts and statutes of the University meant that he was always guided by it and never sort to take any decision that did not have the approval of the University council.

“Anybody who knows how Universities work around the world and here in Ghana, will know that it is not possible, to do a one man show. The University has rules both in the acts that establishes it and in the statutes, one of the things I pride myself in very much is that I came to appreciate the acts and the statutes very well. And as a result was always guided by these.”

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, who is also a renowned economist, also explained that the Africa Integras deal was not shrouded in secrecy, and claims that there were no consultations with the University’s management are all false.

Professor Aryeetey in mounting a defense for the Africa Integras deal said that the deal was signed at a public event at the University of Ghana’s Great hall where students, Ministers of state, University Council members were all present.

“There is absolutely no way and the statutes are clear always no way that as a Vice-Chancellor you can borrow money without the approval of the University council. It is not possible. So I would have expected that if I was entering into such an agreement of this financial nature, for which I had no authority for the three years that this was negotiated somebody would have raised the issue that why are you negotiating this when we signed the agreement in full public view at the great hall with all former Vice-Chancellors, Ministers of state, faculty, students University council members, students present. Why didn’t anybody say we hadn’t approved this.”

Professor Ernest Aryeetey in the interview further expressed his surprise at the lack of a thorough investigation into the matter by the people who have accused him of wrongdoing with regards to the $64m Africa Integras deal.

Then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Aryeetey and a representative signing the Africa Integras deal at the University’s Great hall

He however revealed that although he has been invited to some rather short meetings by the University over the matter no one has come out to conduct a full blown investigation into the matter.

Professor Aryeetey said he is opened to any form of enquiry or investigation into the deal.

“I am surprised that these issues have been out in the public space and nobody has forwarded to do a thorough investigation on it. Journalists have asked me questions.”

“The University invited me for a meeting and we had a half discussions on it for about 30mins. I have made the offers on several occasions and lets put these agreements down and ask me any questions you feel I am best placed to answer and it hasn’t happened. Let’s have a proper criminal investigations if necessary but it hasn’t happened.”

Pain and disappointments

Professor Ernest Aryeetey however did not hide his emotions on the matter as he admitted although he is hurt by the lies against him aimed at tarnishing his reputation, he has moved on.

According to him, he takes satisfaction in seeing young people he worked with back at the University now having successful careers.

He also said he was disappointed in certain people of authority, he had expected to have intervened and helped in bringing closure to the matter.

Then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Aryeetey and a representative signing the Africa Integras deal at the University’s Great hall

“It is obvious to me, that this is intended to tarnish my reputation. But I can assure you with all of this going on, my life continues”

“I believe many things could have happened that could have been done differently, and there many people who have authority in this country, who could have said, what’s going on ? Let’s sit down and talk about this, let’s investigate this but haven’t. So if there is disappointment there are many places were you can place it.”

“There is a lot of pain but I must say I have moved on. I take a lot of satisfaction from seeing that many of the young students I worked with are doing very well in their career. I take a lot of pride to see that young faculty we supported is doing well”

No regrets

Professor Aryeetey despite all that’s happened post his tenure as Vice-Chancellor of the University, said he has no regrets about the Africa Integras deal adding that the move was best for the University at that time.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the agreement that we entered into was the best at the time.” He said.

About the Africa Integras project

Africa Integras entered into the agreement with the University of Ghana in 2014 which was signed by its former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey as structured as a 25-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement.

The projects involved the construction of an expanded facility for the College of Humanities and a new College of Education.

It was also to construct a new dedicated facility for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the Institute of Technology and Applied Sciences, as well as a new facility for the College of Health Sciences.

Africa Integras was also to procure thousands of new students’ hostel beds, to be divided between undergraduate and graduate students mostly to serve the College of Health Sciences.

However, following the exit of Prof. Aryeetey and the swearing-in the new Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro-Owusu, it was alleged that the arrangement by Prof. Aryeetey was not value for money and that something was wrong with it.

It was also claimed that Prof. Aryeetey had received financial inducements to allow the project to proceed since it was economically unreasonable and would cost the University more money.

Source: citinewsroom.com

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