Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called on Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah to help resolve the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), dismissal.

This was after he received a petition from Professor Mawutor Avoke on his challenges with re-employment at the UEW.

Prof. Avoke was exonerated by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) was investigated along with five other university staff for alleged procurement and management breaches.

According to the former President, the professor’s post-investigation challenges to find employment has not been encouraging, especially, after EOCO exonerated them.

In a letter dated October 24, 2019, addressed to the Minister, the former President said he had over the past few days received representation and a petition from Prof. Avoke on his challenges with the UEW.

Mr Rawlings’ letter, which was copied to the Chief of Staff, the President of the National House of Chiefs, the Minister of Education and the Member of Parliament for Effutu, noted that “as per the attached petition, EOCO which investigated allegations against Prof. Avoke and five others had exonerated the six persons.”

He continued, “unfortunately, during the pendency of the investigations, the affected persons were dismissed from the university by the former governing council of the UEW.”

According to him, that action has created a complex situation, leaving the exonerated former Vice Chancellor and his colleagues still out of work.

“As per Prof. Avoke’s request, I will be grateful if you can look into the merits of the latest developments and take the necessary steps in consultation with the relevant stakeholders that would be satisfactory, justifiable and equitable in the eye of the law,” the letter said.  

Background

The Winneba High Court, in 2017, ordered Prof. Avoke to step aside until a case brought against him and the university’s governing council was determined. 

The case was brought before the court by Supi Kwayera who insisted that the Vice Chancellor and the Finance Officer, Dr Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, were operating under the institution’s defunct governing council.

According to the plaintiff, the university’s governing council’s mandate expired in November 2013, but the Ministry of Education failed to reconstitute a new council for the UEW and rather allowed the defunct council which had no mandate to continue the functions of a properly constituted council.

Subsequently, the court found Prof. Avoke and Dr Ackorlie guilty of procurement and other financial irregularities.

Dismissal of six

The former governing council, at an emergency meeting in August 2018, after the High Court ruling, dismissed Prof. Avoke, Dr Ackorlie, Daniel Tetteh, Mary Dzimey, Frank Owusu Boateng and another who had been interdicted in July 2017 by the council.

The move was to allow for investigations after it emerged that some vital documents at some offices at the centre of an investigation had gone missing. 

Investiture for new VC

To fill the vacuum created by the dismissal of Prof. Avoke, the then governing council appointed Rev. Fr Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, who was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, as the acting Vice Chancellor.

Later he was confirmed by the council.

He was sworn into office on September 16, 2018, as the substantive Vice Chancellor at a ceremony which was graced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

However, his appointment was embroiled in controversy following the interdiction of Prof. Avoke and the accompanying legal battle which is yet to end.

Avoke storms campus

On July 23, 2019, Prof. Avoke and the other dismissed staff stormed the Winneba campus of the university in a bid to take over their former positions but armed police officers from the Winneba Police Command emerged to stop them in their tracks.