Why the undue haste? – Atuguba questions Akufo-Addo over ‘illegal’ UEW VC induction
Professor Raymond Atuguba has questioned why President Akufo-Addo would grace the occasion of the induction of a new Vice Chancellor for the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) when there is a case before the Supreme Court to determine whether the removal of Professor Mawutor Avoke from office as Vice Chancellor was legal or otherwise.
As part of activities scheduled for Akufo-Addo’s 4-day tour of the Central Region, he is expected to be present at the ceremony, today, Monday, September 17, 2018 but Atugubu finds it inappropriate.
“The UEW series of cases has put the President of the Republic in a Rule of Law and Judicial Independence spotlight, and his actions and inaction in the next few hours and few days would signal to the Ghanaian public whether the admirable Rule of Law credentials he has always had as a person and as a professional are still intact, or whether he has abandoned them on the altar of politics. Flowing from this, the signal from the first citizen of the Republic will undoubtedly inform whether and how the rest of us, citizens and subjects alike, obey the Rule of Law and uphold Judicial Independence,” portions of a statement from Atuguba read.
“What we need to remember is that the Supreme Court will deliver a judgment on UEW just next month, and that judgment could hold that Prof. Avoke remains the Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, and that his purported removal by the Winneba High Court is improper.”
“We need to also remember that the High Court, Cape Coast, is set to deliver rulings and judgments in October, and these could hold that the removal of Prof. Avoke is illegal and the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor is also illegal, and that various officials, including the purported new Vice Chancellor are in contempt of court and should be locked up in jail for hundreds of actions they have taken since the start of these matters. We have an application for contempt against them pending in the Cape Coast High Court.”
“Why can’t the University Council (and the President) allow the courts to decide, JUST NEXT MONTH, so that if their candidate wins the case, they can do 1000 installations for him next month?” he asked.
Atuguba who was counsel for Avoke disclosed that he decided to withdraw his legal representation because there were attempts by some persons to influence justice, adding that Akufo-Addo’s presence at the ceremony would be a confirmation that he was one of the figures.
“I must be forthright and say at this point that when I withdrew my legal representation for the Vice Chancellor (VC) of UEW and his other embattled colleagues, in open court in the Cape Coast High Court, it was because I sensed unseen hands operating to prevent one of the fairest judges I have ever appeared before, from dispensing justice speedily and justly, or at all. The presence or absence of the President at the illegal induction of a new VC will confirm for me, at a personal level, whether or not the President was and/or is a part of those unseen hands, or at least did nothing, or intends to do nothing, to stop them,” he noted.
A Winneba High Court in 2017 ordered Professor Mawutor Avoke, to step aside until a case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council is determined.
The order was made in a case brought before the 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 adduced that the 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 and permitted the defunct Governing Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue the functions of a properly constituted Governing Council as if same had been properly constituted.
This, Mr. Kwayera insisted was unlawful, and hence his legal action against the University of Education, Winneba.
However, before the substantive claims were looked into, the University, through its lawyers, applied to the court to dismiss the suit on the three counts, but the application was dismissed.
The High Court subsequently found Professor Avoke, and the school’s Finance Officer, Dr. Theopholus Senyo Ackorlie, guilty of procurement and other financial irregularities.
The court subsequently ordered the retrieval of all monies paid to the contractors of the North Campus Roads and a forensic audit of the project.