Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere has been asked to resume his post as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, today.
The recall comes after almost one year of him stepping out of office to allow for a smooth disciplinary process to take place.
Prof. Asenso-Okyere has been a vice chancellor in absentia since June 8, 2005, when, on a directive by the University Council, he stepped aside to allow the disciplinary committees set up to investigate the examination malpractice that rocked the university in 2004 to carry out their work.
Consequently, the university authorities appointed Prof. C. N. B. Tagoe as the acting Vice-Chancellor. Prof. Tagoe has since been approved as the substantive Vice-Chancellor with effect from October 1, 2006.
The University Council in a notice dated June 30, 2006, asked Prof. Asenso-Okyere to resume work today, ostensibly to allow him to wind up his stewardship, which ends in September 2006.
"It is noticed for general information that Prof. K. Asenso-Okyere should resume office as Vice-Chancellor on July 3, 2006", said the notice, which was signed by the Registrar of the university and secretary to the council, Mr A. T. Konu, and quoted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
Efforts by the Daily Graphic to contact Prof. Asenso-Okyere for comment on his recall proved unsuccessful.
A source close to the university told the Daily Graphic that Prof. Asenso-Okyere had travelled to China and was expected to return home today, which meant he could only resume his post tomorrow.
The decision to ask Prof. Asenso-Okyere to step aside generated some controversies in the past. While a section of the university community supported the decision in view of the involvement of Kwadwo Tabiri Asenso-Okyere, son of the Vice Chancellor in the examination malpractice, others thought it was unjustified, since Prof. Asenso-Okyere was not implicated in the scandal.
In April, this year, the vice chancellor caused a stir when he gave the University Council a one-week ultimatum of his intention to resume work with or without the consent of the council.
According to Prof. Asenso-Okyere, his decision to resume duty as vice chancellor was informed by his understanding that the disciplinary process had been completed with the punitive action taken against junior and senior members of the university who were implicated in the examination malpractice.
A letter by the vice chancellor, dated April 18, 2006, addressed to the chairman of the University Council and copied to members of the council and the acting vice chancellor said, “The one-week notice will give the acting vice chancellor time to wind up his activities in the Office of the Vice Chancellor.”
Prof. Asenso-Okyere explained that his action was based on the assurance given to him by the University Council in a letter dated May 30, 2005, which stated, inter alia, “You will return to post when council has accepted the committees' reports and their recommendations and has approved any sanction they may recommend for implementation.”
He said he had not heard anything from the council with respect to that assurance, although he was aware that the Academic Board had considered the recommendations by the disciplinary committees, based on which action had been taken against persons implicated in the examination malpractice.
In a rebuttal to the vice chancellor's stance, the Chairman of the University Council, Dr Ishmael Yamson, said it was very surprising and strange for Prof. Asenso-Okyere to have considered that line of action.
He said Prof. Asenso-Okyere did not have the prerogative to tell the University Council when he wanted to resume work, adding that the council would ask him to resume work after the completion of the disciplinary process.