The former Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Professor Mawutor Avoke, has accused his successor, the Reverend Fr Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Prof. Emmanuel Nicholas Abaka, of instigating his removal from office.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it has now become very clear that at least two persons, Rev. Fr Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni and Prof. Emmanuel Nicholas Abakah (the Chairman of the Governing Council), played very critical roles to ensure the wrongful removal of my colleagues and I from our various offices and positions in the university,” he told journalists at a press conference yesterday.
The press conference, according to the former V-C, had been necessitated by the fact that the current management and the university and its council had “so manipulated the court system through unorthodox practices” to get an application he had filed not to be heard till date”.
If not for that, he believed that his colleagues and he were going to get justice through the due process they had filed at the courts, he said.
Prof. Avoke listed acts by the parties in getting him and other officers dismissed and outlined proposals for solving the challenges at the institution.
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The former V-C maintained that his dismissal, that of the Finance Officer, Dr Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, and four other senior officers in August, 2018, despite a pending application before a Cape Coast High Court, were wrong.
"Let me, therefore, at this stage unequivocally and wholeheartedly state my forgiveness for all those who have contributed in various ways to wrongfully bring me to my current state, and all those who have destroyed my illustrious career as a scholar and administrator. I have forgiven all of them and don’t hold any grudge against them either," he stated.
In his proposals, Prof. Avoke maintained that, "A university environment is not a place to terrorise academics.
"Staff should be allowed to resume work in all fairness, since justice will not be served if I and those dismissed are not brought back, as this has the potential of setting an unhealthy precedent for higher education in this country. As a nation we need to right these wrongs.”
"I am willing to be a part of a conversation that will ensure all parties are brought together in order to unite the university," he added.
The scholar said injustice was served in dismissing staff who had served the university over the past several years on “trumped-up charges, evidenced in a so-called Fact Finding Report (which was available for all to scrutinise)” an act he described as “the greatest injustice in the history of higher education anywhere in the civilised world.
"Ironically, even when Ms Sena Dake (Internal Auditor) and Mary Dzimey (Procurement Officer) were recommended by their own Fact Finding Report to be taken through in-service training, the council proceeded to sack them in order to create opportunity for other favoured ones," he stated.
Prof. Avoke said the waste and loss of human capital to the nation could not be contemplated in the sacking of some of the most skilled staff who trained abroad and in Ghana at the expense of the taxpayer.
He said some, like him, had spent their entire working lives building the University of Education, even at a time when it was not attractive for many academics to work there.
Giving the genesis of his ordeal, Prof. Avoke said it began in March 2017 when the Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu, Mr Alexander Afenyo Markin, was hoodwinked to petition the Minister of Education on the allegation that the council that appointed him and other officers, including the then Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Afful-Broni, into office was defunct and, thus, illegal and also that certain contracts awarded were without due process.
Invited to respond to the allegation, Prof. Avoke said they had pointed out that the said Governing Council could not be deemed to be defunct, as the President at the time had given a fresh mandate to all such councils and boards.