In a press release dated 1st November 2017, UTAG made a vain attempt to muddy the waters at UEW, and ended up with a ‘bleeding nose’.
UTAG opened its statement with a denial of the arrest of the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) and five (5) others by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) on 31st October 2017. UTAG should be told in no uncertain terms that an arrest doesn’t necessarily mean putting handcuffs on the hands of somebody; and detention does not necessarily imply locking someone up overnight in cells. The mere pronouncement by an officer empowered with the power of arrest, that one is under arrest, suffices.
One can equally be detained anywhere, so far as the movement of the person concerned is lawfully restricted within a certain period of time.
The denial by UTAG that Prof. Mawutor Avoke was not formally written to by EOCO to appear before it, is absolute falsehood. UEW received a letter from EOCO requesting the university to release the officials in question to it to help in its investigations into alleged procurement breaches. Subsequent to that, specific letters were served.
In point 2 of UTAG press release, it sought to absolve Prof. Avoke of the illegality of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UEW and the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), vis-a-vis the clear provisions of the 1992 Constitution and the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663) as amended.
This argument of UTAG does not hold water.
Prof. Avoke could have chosen to abandon or reviewed the MoU with the GHA signed by his predecessor and adhere strictly to the provisions of Act 663 in the award of all UEW contracts.
The position of UTAG can be likened to a male rapist who puts up an argument in court that the victim (lady) stripped naked and bent down in front of him, hence the rape. This is no defence.
UTAG argument that the Acting VC signed most of the payment vouchers is a desperate lie and deserves no time wasting. Evidence in that regard should be made available to EOCO by UTAG, since UTAG is in possession of the said evidence. Rebuttal to UTAG point 3.
UTAG’s beef in point 4 is that the then VC, Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw, should rather be the one at the centre of the EOCO investigations. The long arm of the law, will surely catch up with Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw, if indeed he awarded some contracts without due regard to the provisions of Act 663.
With regard to the Ag. VC, EOCO is yet to be provided with evidence to pursue him. It is therefore the duty of UTAG to furnish EOCO with the PVs bearing the Ag. VCs valid signature.
UTAG is now operating on the theory propounded in “Animal Farm”. It is clear from the general contents of the press release that some members of UTAG are more important than others. Is UTAG saying that the Ag. VC of UEW (Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful-Broni) is not a UTAG member?
In point 5, UTAG, as ‘custodians of the laws of this country’, states that the Winneba High Court granted itself the jurisdiction to hear the akpeteshie’s seller’s (Supi Kwayera) suit against UEW.
Under Article 140 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, the High Court is granted jurisdiction in all matters and in particular, civil and criminal matters, etc. Furthermore, the financial jurisdiction of the High Court is unlimited, per the provisions of the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459), and other relevant laws in force.
UTAG can redeem its battered image by quoting the 1992 Constitution or other relevant laws in force that denies the High Court jurisdiction in Supi Kwayera’s suit. The issues here are not the same as in a level 100 classroom, where lecturers of the calibre of UTAG’s President, would go and make vile statements and get away with it without being challenged. Quote the law to back your hallow arguments, ‘Dr’ UTAG President!
The argument of UTAG in point 6 that it was expecting the matter to be settled amicably, has no basis in law. Matters that bother on criminal wrongdoing cannot be settled out of court. Act 663 and the Criminal Code, 1960, Act 29, are explicit in this regard.
Since when did UTAG adopt the position that the law should take its course if any of its members violate the laws of Ghana? Was it not this same UTAG that put up the disgraceful argument that the suit brought against UEW by Supi Kwayera was an attack on academic freedom? Which Article in the 1992 Constitution or Act of Parliament, provides that a suit by a private citizen against a public university under Article 41 (f) of the 1992 Constitution, constitutes an attack on academic freedom?
Prof. Avoke only started receiving a basic salary, that is without other allowances from September 2017. The injunction took effect on 14th July 2017. He received all allowances for July and August, for no work done.
With the interdiction, Prof. Avoke and his colleagues could, henceforth, be on one-third of their basic salary, so UTAG should brace itself for more sad/good news. UTAG point 8 answered.
For the avoidance of doubt, NO strike action or whatever strategy UTAG has up its sleeve, can derail the ongoing investigations by EOCO, the BNI and the UEW Fact Finding Committee. No one is above the law in this country. A Trade Union will NEVER be permitted to hold the entire country to ransom!
It is heartwarming that the apostles of a law suit against a public university, being preached around as an attack on academic freedom, are now the deponents of affidavits at the law courts.
More on this failed academician in my rejoinder to Prof. Victor K. Owusu’s article titled, “UEW At The Mercy Of Failed Academics: The AG VC And Council Chairman In Mind”.
From the above submissions, which clearly exposes the biased stand of UTAG, the question is; is UTAG now an object of ridicule or an association up for grabs by the highest bidder?
Alhassan Salifu Bawah
(son of a peasant farmer)