The leadership of University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has challenged reports of the arrest of the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).
In a statement Wednesday, it denied claims that Prof. Avoke has been summoned by EOCO.
It said the professor is innocent of all charges stressing he was not in office at the time the agreements under contention were entered into.
“Although Prof. Avoke has not been found guilty by any court of competent jurisdiction, attempts have been made to withdraw all benefits and perquisites due him as the Vice Chancellor of the University,” the statement said.
It added that UTAG is closely watching proceedings and will not tolerate any attempt by any party to influence the decision of the Supreme Court which is expected on November 8, 2017.
Read the full statement below
UTAG PRESS RELEASE ON THE IMPASSE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA (UEW)
It has come to the notice of the National Leadership of UTAG that the Vice Chancellor and Finance Officer of the University of Education, Winneba who were asked to step aside by a Winneba High Court, on 14th July, 2017 and four other Officers of the University have been arrested and detained by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) on 31st October, 2017 over alleged procurement breaches. This information has been widely circulated in the media.
The National Leadership of UTAG wishes to state that:
- Prof Mawutor Avoke was not formally written to, to appear before EOCO and therefore has not been arrested or detained as speculated in the media.
- At the time that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) of the North campus road (the case under contention) was being contracted, Prof Avoke was a Dean and as such was not a party.
- The current Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof Afful-Broni was the substantive Pro-Vice-Chancellor and signed most of the payment vouchers (PVs) with the former Vice-Chancellor, Prof Asabere-Ameyaw.
- We are concerned as to why EOCO have not officially invited the main architects of the said contract (Prof Afful-Broni and Prof Asabere-Ameyaw) to appear before them but is rather concentrating on Prof. Avoke.
- The initial High Court ruling on July 10, 2017, which granted itself the jurisdiction to hear the application and also stated that the applicant has the capacity to bring the case to court and subsequently went ahead to rule that Prof. Avoke should step aside due to the illegality of the Council that appointed him and further asked that the Pro Vice-Chancellor who was appointed by the same “illegal Council” to act as Vice Chancellor, is being challenged by UTAG-UEW at the Supreme Court. This application has been heard and the ruling is expected to be delivered on November 8, 2017
- It was the expectation of UTAG that having constituted the UEW Governing Council, an amicable solution could be reached, however, matters have worsened under the Chairmanship of Prof. Abakah's Governing Council in relation to the above issue.
- UTAG has always maintained that if any of its members are found to have engaged in any act of malfeasance then the law should be allowed to take its course. This is particularly so when there are two cases, in relation to the above-stated impasse, pending before both the High Court in Winneba and the Supreme Court.
- Although Prof. Avoke has not been found guilty by any court of competent jurisdiction, attempts have been made to withdraw all benefits and perquisites due him as the Vice Chancellor of the University.
- An earlier strike action declared by UTAG on September 18, 2017, due to these underhand dealings and unfair treatment of Prof. Avoke, was suspended following the intervention of Vice Chancellors Ghana (VCG) with the aim of resolving the problem behind the scenes.
All this while, UTAG has kept calm and believed in the legal process of addressing the issues and has stayed true to that course. However, while we believe in the legal processes, UTAG is vigilant and watching closely every development which is happening at UEW campus. We therefore, wish to state that any attempt by any individual, groups of individuals or institutions to use any scheme or strategy outside the confines of the provisions of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, the UEW Act and Statutes, in order to court public displeasure against any of our members connected to this case as a strategic means of securing a judgment in the court of public opinion even before the final outcome of the case in competent courts of jurisdiction will be unfortunate.
UTAG will not hesitate to fully employ all the strategies available to it in order to redeem and protect the interest and image of members of our Association and particularly, the autonomy of the public universities.
UTAG, therefore, respectfully request that all major stakeholders such as Vice-Chancellors’ Ghana, the Governing Council of UEW, the Ministry of Education, National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana, will show commitment to resolving the issues as we seek diligently to find an amicable solution to the crises which have the potential of not only destroying the hard-won reputation of certain individuals but also derailing the entire progress that the University of Education, Winneba, has made so far.
Dr Eric Opoku Mensah