General News of Monday, 17 September 2018
A month after Professor Mawutor Avoke was dismissed as Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Prof Raymond Atuguba has disclosed he decided to withdraw his legal representation for the embattled VC because there were attempts by some persons to influence justice.
The governing council of UEW dismissed five principal officers of the institution after an emergency meeting. The five were Professor Mawutor Avoke who was serving a suspension, Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, Daniel Tetteh, Mary Dzimey and Frank Owusu Boateng.
In a statement copied to Ghanaweb.com, Prof Atuguba said the removal of Prof Avoke and Mr. Akorlie from office was not as a result of any wrongdoing, rather, sheer victimization.
“When a change of government occurred in January 2017, a certain cabal (for lack of a better word) that is associated with Winneba saw this as an opportunity to change principal officers of the University of Education, Winneba. After acting as Lawyer for the victims of this move, I can only conclude that the only real reason for their removal was ethnocentric. So Vice Chancellor Avoke, Finance Officer Akorlie, and bearers of similar such names had to go.
“Note that this is not an isolated incident. At the moment, I am also lawyer for VC Dzisah of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, who, like Avoke and Akorlie bear names that are not quite “right”. I must say that the whole enterprise was so revolting, distasteful and crude that I constantly had mental and tummy convulsions in conducting the cases, until I decided to withdraw my representation before I was tempted to say things in court that are unprofessional and jeopardise my clients’ cases,” he stated.
“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,” he continued.
Professor Mawutor Avoke
According to Atuguba, the cabal, in their quest to achieve the ethnocentric objective, set out to use 6 strategies: try to misuse the courts to remove the UEW officials; victimise all the persons who tried to prevent the misuse of the courts to dismiss the innocent officials; try to misuse state investigative institutions to remove the UEW officials and the media to paint the embattled officers black; go back to the courts and try to misuse them again having failed at the courts the first time, and having failed to cow everyone into submission, and having failed to find wrongdoing using the BNI, EOCO and the media; disrupt the attempts of the embattled officers to seek justice independently and lastly, use the president to provide political legitimacy to an illegality.
With barely hours to the induction of a new VC, Atuguba mentioned that he could not fathom why President Akufo-Addo would grace the ceremony when he [Atuguba] has filed a case at the Supreme Court seeking to reverse the removal of Avoke from office.
“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 further stated that, “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.”
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.