An Accra Fast Track High Court has quashed the decision by the University of Ghana, Legon to remove Prof Edward Ofori-Sarpong as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university and the dismissal of the Head of the Philosophy Department, Prof Kwasi Agyeman, from the university, describing them as unlawful and unauthorised.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice P. Baffoe-Bonnie, yesterday ruled that the purported removal of Prof Ofori-Sarpong as the Pro-Vice Chancellor and his reprimand by the acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof C.N.B. Tagoe, “is ultra vires, unauthorised and, therefore, void”.
In the case of Prof Agyeman, the judge said his dismissal by the acting vice-chancellor was wrong in law, unauthorised and beyond the power or authority of the acting vice-chancellor and, therefore, void.
Costs of ¢10 million were awarded to either of the applicants (Prof Ofori-Sarpong and Prof Agyeman).
The two professors were sanctioned for their alleged role in the examination malpractice which rocked the country's premier university in 2004 but they subsequently sought redress at the law court.
Family relations and friends of the two professors were in jubilant mood after the court had delivered its verdict.
The two professors were themselves very elated and poured out praises and thanks to God for redeeming their dented public image as a result of the allegations made against them.
Prof Ofori-Sarpong quoted 2 Corinthians 13:8 - “For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (RSV) and Proverbs 12:19 - “Truthful lips endure for ever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (RSV) to underline what he considered as divine redemption from the allegations levelled against him.
“They were hiding under the refuge of lies and falsehood but we've overcome for real justice,” he said excitingly, adding, “I'm so happy that God has glorified Himself.”
On his part, Prof Agyeman said he had been in flames for the past one year and that had it not been the court, he would have been dead by now. However, the ruling seemed to have brought him some relief.
“I can't express how happy I am .... We give glory to God,” he said thankfully.
According to Justice Baffoe-Bonnie, from whatever angle one looked at the issue, the acting vice-chancellor's act of removing Prof Ofori-Sarpong as pro-vice chancellor “was ultra vires, suffered from procedural impropriety and sinned against the audi alterm role in violation of Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, void”.
Article 23 of the Constitution states that “Administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed on them by law and persons aggrieved by the exercise of such acts and decisions shall have the right to seek redress before a court and other tribunal.”
He explained that the acting vice-chancellor's action against the two professors did not conform with Section 6:19 of the university's statutes, adding that it was only the appointing authority, in this case the Academic Board, which had the power to dismiss.
“It is this court's view that by purporting to consider the recommendations of the disciplinary board, endorsing its recommendation and applying the sanctions, the acting vice-chancellor was obviously acting ultra vires.
He usurped the powers reserved for the Academic Board, short-circuited the procedure and thereby deprived the second applicant (Prof Agyeman) the chance of hearing his case reviewed by the appropriate body,” he submitted.
Story by Kofi Yeboah