The CEO of Africa Integras, Andrea Pizziconi says she retracted her seeming sexual harassment claims against the vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana because she felt threatened by the university and its ability to negatively impact her business.
In the wake of the explosive documentary on “sex for grades” by the BBC which included Ghana’s premier university, Pizziconi shared a tweet suggesting her company’s US$64m infrastructure investment at UG suffered as a result of a sex scandal.
“I have remained mostly quiet despite the battery of attacks by Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu on my dignity. I was advised not to make waves and definitely not to raise the #metoo flag if I wanted to put the project back on track, which I do. Now I feel compelled to speak up and draw a direct line between this sex scandal and our derailed project,” her post read.
Prof Ebenezer Oduro-Owusu has since denied the allegation of sexually harassing the woman.
Andrea Pizziconi days later beat a retreat and blamed the media for misrepresentation.
She remarked on October 10: “I agree that you never harassed me. Nor did I ever say as much. Surely, you are aware of the difference of headlines and the article’s substance, the latter of which accurately reflects my previous statement.”
But speaking on Hot Issues to be aired on TV3 Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Ms Pizziconi “let’s just think about why though. Why would a victim do that? Look at what happened to me over the last week, the trolling that happened, the incredibly defamatory statements that were made from him and from others about me because I spoke up.
“If you were a young lady from the University of Ghana who had been mistreated by your professor, would you want to speak up?” she asked rhetorically.
She told host of the show, Nuong Faalong that she had issues with the media on the issue for “putting words in my mouth at that time”, indicating that the media “did not allow me to characterize the discussion as I would”
She also stated that one of the reasons she stepped back on the issue was to avoid being known merely as the woman who accused the vice-chancellor of sexual harassment when in fact she wanted to be known more for her work.
Ms Pizziconi further explained that the vice chancellor’s comments and actions towards her made her uncomfortable.
She said she was convinced that the VC's perception of her was the main reason the Africa Integras project was terminated, essentially creating a situation where her professionalism suffered due to his misogyny.
Andrea’s previous tweet and the timing
Andrea Pizziconi had tweeted that the BBC Africa Eye’s ‘Sex for grade’ documentary which implicated two lecturers of the University for sexually harassing students resonates deeply with her.
She wrote that her company Africa Integras led a $64mn infrastructure investment at UG which was defaulted upon by the current VC.
Africa Integras, the Investment arm of The Christie Company, serves as advisor and investor in education infrastructure projects across Africa.
“He confidently declared as much publicly at a UG Council meeting in August 2017 suggesting the contract was invalid as it was signed under duress in a hotel room between his predecessor and myself."
"Nothing could be further from the truth and in fact of all my dealing with UG and in Ghana, it was this VC who made me most uncomfortable when he repeatedly declined to work with me to save the project but instead said ‘I was far too pretty to worry my little head about the project while declaring turn around everyone I want to give her a proper hug’."
"So, I know well what pressure such women are under to compromise their dignity at the University of Ghana,” she wrote.
The timing of the tweet got some of her followers to think that she was alleging that she had been sexually harassed.
Breaking my silence on #universityofghana amidst this scandal & the VC's attacks on me. Swipe to read. UG students: this affects us all. We'll advocate until there's change. #girlsfirstfinance launches this Fri the 11th. Sign up @ https://t.co/qIQXXvzSmR #africaintegras @BBCNews https://t.co/1pq6C2ZdDH pic.twitter.com/ZP9DgNxsmX— Drea Pizziconi (@dreapizziconi) October 7, 2019