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Committee exonerates S-Poly Registrar

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The mediation committee set up by the Sunyani Polytechnic (S-Poly) Council to investigate and mediate in the fracas between the registrar and the  S-Poly branch of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) has exonerated the registrar from all allegations levelled against him by members of the teachers association.

In its report, the committee said “All the allegations levelled against the Registrar, Mr Samuel Ankamah Obour, were unfounded and could not be sustained’’, it also described calls by the teachers association for the removal of Mr Obour as “unwarranted”.

Following a number of allegations levelled against the registrar by POTAG and the subsequent demand for his removal from office, the council at its emergency meeting appointed a five-member Mediation Committee to investigate and mediate in the matter.

In a letter dated May 3, 2013 addressed to the Minister of Education through the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education, with a copy made available to the Daily Graphic,  the council said it had “Accepted the findings and recommendations of the committee and will implement them accordingly.’’

The letter was signed by the Chairman of the council, Dr Isaac Kwasi Asomah, with other copies to the Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission, the Brong Ahafo regional minister, the POTAG National Secretariat, Bolgatanga, the Rector, S-Poly and his Vice, the POTAG Chairman, S-Poly and the secretary, the National Security Council as well as other stakeholders.

The letter said “The Polytechnic Council at its emergency meeting on May 2,  2013, accepted the report of the Mediation Committee set up to investigate and mediate in the impasse between the POTAG and the Registrar (Mr S. A. Obour).”

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With reference to the allegation that the registrar had been misleading the council to take wrong decisions, the committee found that to be false and that was accepted by the council.

The letter said, “Honourable Minister, although the POTAG, S-Poly branch refused to appear before the Mediation Committee when they were duly invited to do so, Deans of Schools and Heads of Departments (HODs) as well as individual staff, appeared and gave evidence at the committee’s sittings.”

That, it noted, afforded the committee the chance to thoroughly investigate all the allegations, adding that, a copy of the report had been enclosed for the minister’s study.

Referring to the allegations by POTAG that the registrar reported to the council that, the Head of Department of Commercial Studies had refused to release marked scripts belonging to a student, Ms Rebecca Osei Bonsu, and given her bonus for external remarking which led to the council writing to the HOD demanding for the remarking of the scripts without the knowledge of the academic board, the letter said the council accepted that it was falsehood as was established by the committee.

It added that the committee found out that the registrar acted upon instructions from the council to write to request for the release of the examination scripts belonging to Ms Osei Bonsu for remarking, in his capacity as the secretary to the council and was, therefore, carrying out the directive from the council.

Referring to an allegation that the registrar misled the rector,  leading to  the wrongful termination of appointment of the HOD of the Commercial Studies, Mr Roberson Amoah, which generated tension on campus, the letter said the committee found out that, the rector in his capacity as the Chief Disciplinary Officer of the Polytechnic terminated the said appointment, after he had refused to comply with the council’s request to submit the said student’s script to the council.

According to the letter, the mediation committee, therefore, found out that the registrar did not in any way influence the rector to terminate the appointment of the HOD, and that the council accepted the finding.

Concerning the allegation that the registrar falsely reported to the academic board that, POTAG members were inciting students to boycott the purchase of books sold by a foreign company, John Smith Bookshop, the letter said the committee also found out that it could not be substantiated and so the council accepted same.

On the allegation that Mr Obour diverted a scholarship received from a Chinese  University for the academic staff to his younger brother who was not even an employee of the polytechnic, the letter indicated that the committee found out that, there was no such scholarship for the polytechnic to be so diverted, to which the committee established to be untrue and was thus, accepted by the council.

Touching on the allegation that, the “Registrar employed lecturers without the knowledge of Deans of Schools and HODs concerned, the letter said the committee again found that to be false and the council abided by it”.

It explained that evidence from deans and HODs who appeared before the committee testified that the appointment of lecturers was done by the Appointments and Promotions Committee and the Board, with the full participation of the Deans and HODs, adding that, appointment letters were signed by the Rector and not the Registrar, which reason the council accepted.

The allegation that, “During recruitment of staff, it is only the Registrar’s friends and family members who are considered for reemployment and about one-third of staff ere his family members and friends”, the letter said the committee found it to be false, and that, the council also accepted that finding.

It noted that the committee found that, “It  was not the prerogative of the registrar to recruit staff but that of the Appointment and Promotion Committee and the Board. Members of staff who appeared before the committee confirmed that the registrar has never signed any appointment letter or influenced the process of appointment of staff into the polytechnic” to which the council further accepted.

Story: Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah