UEW Crisis: Court throws out dismissed Lecturer, Dr. Bekoe’s review application
The Cape Coast High Court 2, at its sitting on Monday 22nd July 2019, threw out a review application filed by Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe.
It would be recalled that Dr. Bekoe’s dream of reinstatement was shot down by the same Court at its earlier sitting on 25th June 2019.
Her Ladyship, Justice Mills Tetteh held that the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), did not err nor breached the rules of natural justice in dismissing Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe.
In a ruling that spanned over an hour, Her Ladyship advanced that the position of the applicant that his conduct which was the subject of investigation for which he was being invited by both the Investigations Committee and the Disciplinary Board, was already before a Winneba District Court and therefore he could not honour the invitations of the Committee and the Board, was flawed.
She maintained that where there is alternative resolution of a dispute, the Court leans towards it. Therefore, the administrative processes used by UEW could run parallel to any ongoing judicial processes bearing in mind that the University had to run. She noted that there must be a fine balance struck between the right of the individual against public interest.
It would be recalled that at a Council meeting in February, 2018, Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, then a Convocation Representative on the UEW Council, was alleged to have issued death threats to some Council Members. This consequently led to a complaint being lodged at the Winneba Municipal Police Station, which also ended at the Winneba District Court and an internal disciplinary process, triggered, and subsequently, an Investigative Committee was constituted to look into the issues.
The Judge in her ruling, also settled the issue on the capacity and locus of the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and the Chairman of the Governing Council to discipline the affected person. She held that the aforementioned officers had the mandate and acted within the remit of the law. She quoted copiously from the University statutes and cited other rulings to buttress her own ruling. The Vice-Chancellor (VC) per the University’s statutes is the chief disciplinary officer of the University and therefore has the mandate to discipline any Senior Member in accordance with the the statutes, she pointed out.
Her Ladyship, Justice Mills-Tetteh, posited that there is no evidence to the argument by the applicant that he was not given the opportunity to be heard. Her Ladyship drew evidence from the face of the records to demonstrate that several opportunities were extended to the applicant to appear before both the Investigative Committee and the Disciplinary Board, but same treated the invitations extended to him with contempt and open defiance. The argument therefore, that the applicant was not given any hearing is untenable. She held that the applicant could not disable himself and turn around to complain that he was not given any hearing. The court accordingly dismissed his application.
An olive branch was extended to Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, by the now defunct Governing Council of UEW in March this year to petition it in order to enable it consider reviewing its decision regarding his dismissal, but Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, failed to take advantage of this noble gesture.