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05.12.2002 General News

St. Augustine's Missing Student Found

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The tussle over the missing student of St. Augustine's College, Kwesi Owusu-Sekyere, ended in Tema on Thursday when some boys found him loitering at the Tema Industrial area and sent him to the police station. The boy went missing from the St Augustine’s College about six weeks ago without the knowledge of the school authorities. His father became alarmed when he went to visit him but met his absence. His picture was published on the front page of Thursday’s issue of the Daily Graphic newspaper and that might have alerted the boys who sent him to the police station. His father, Mr Owusu-Sekyere told JOY FM that he had a phone call in the afternoon that his son had been sent to the Tema Harbour Police Station. "I rushed to the Harbour Police Station and saw my son who looked depressed, dull and in dirty clothes". He was reported to be selling scraps. On how he left the school, the 16-year old SSS Two student said he travelled from Cape Coast to Accra, continued to Tema and stayed at the harbour area where he slept under trees. Mr Owusu Sekyere is blaming the school authorities for negligence but the school authorities say his son’s disappearance was a result of a lingering family problem. The boy himself told JOY FM his behaviour has nothing to do with problems in the family. Before his disappearance, Master Owusu Sekyere impressed upon his father to transfer him from the St Augustine’s College to another school.

Tussle over missing school boy intensifies Cape Coast, Central Region (Daily Graphic)- The tussle between the authorities of St Augustine’s College in Cape Coast and the father of Master Kwesi Owusu-Sekyere, said to have mysteriously vanished from the school, has intensified, with Kwesi’s father threatening legal action.

While the father, Kofi Owusu-Sekyere, is blaming the school for negligence which has led to the disappearance of the 16-year-old SSS 2 student, the school says the boy’s disappearance is a result of a lingering family problem. Master Owusu-Sekyere has been missing from the school over the past six weeks under unexplained circumstances. Speculations are rife in the school and beyond that the student had got himself involved in some crime ring in Cape Coast.

Investigations seem to point to Master Owusu-Sekyere’s involvement with expatriate homosexuals who might have lured him out of school. That kind of activity is said to be rampant in some schools in Cape Coast in particular and the Central Region generally.

Friends of Kwesi said he was last spotted at a popular night club in Cape Coast noted for immoral activities. Owusu-Sekyere, however, insisted that the school authorities should produce his son within two weeks or face a legal suit. He said by agreeing to send his child to the school, he had entered into a latent contractual agreement with the school authorities.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the clearly disturbed Owusu-Sekyere said his side of the agreement is to pay the boy’s tuition as well as boarding and lodging fees. The school authorities, he said, bear the legal responsibility of teaching the boy and providing him with secure boarding and lodging. “To allow the boy, who is clearly a minor, to stray into bad company, if really he did, makes the school culpable,” he stressed.

According to him, he went to the school on 19 October this year, to visit the boy but realised that he was not in school. He said some friends of his son told him that the boy had gone home for money and provisions. Owusu-Sekyere said he returned to Accra but the boy was not at home.

He said he suspected that the boy had gone to an auntie whom he visits regularly and, therefore, did not entertain any fears. Owusu-Sekyere said he had a business trip to make to Elubo so he went. He indicated that when he returned, he was informed by a neighbour whose son attends the same school that the boy had not been seen in school for three weeks.

Owusu-Sekyere said he was alarmed by the report and, therefore, dispatched his wife (Kofi’s stepmother) to the school to find out what was happening and their worst fears were confirmed that the boy was not in school.

He said he followed up to the school to meet the authorities who, apparently, were not aware that the boy had left the school. Owusu-Sekyere indicated that after the meeting, an investigative panel, which included the assistant headmaster, the senior housemaster and the housemaster of the boy’s house, St Peter’s, was constituted to investigate the incident.

According to him, the panel confirmed that the boy had been missing from the school and that three weeks before his disappearance, he was spotted at a popular spot in the heart of Cape Coast noted for immoral activities. He said the headmaster of the school ordered that the trunk and chop box belonging to the boy should be brought from the dormitory.

When it was brought, it was detected that the trunk was being used by one of Owusu-Sekyere’s friends, while the chop box was broken, with nothing in it. His school ID card was found in the trunk but his books and personal belongings were nowhere to be found.

A formal report has been made to the Cape Coast police who are investigating the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Master Owusu-Sekyere. When contacted, the headmaster of St Augustine’s College, Francis Amissah, said the boy left school without permission about a month ago.

He said the authorities realised it the day he left during the check-ups and were waiting for him to return so he could face the appropriate sanctions. He said later, a woman who claimed to be a relative came to look for him but was told that he had gone home. That same week, Amissah said the boy's father also came and was told that the child left the school without permission.

He said the father discussed a lot of family matters with the school authorities, which indicated that they had their own problems at home. He said the father decided to go and contact a few addresses in an address book found in the boy's trunk and get back to them, but he never did.

Amissah said, "We even thought the father had found the boy and we were still waiting for him when we heard he had gone on air to accuse the school authorities of not taking care of the student," Amissah said.

Asked if he knew about a club in town where students go to meet and indulge in criminal activities, he said, "I don’t know this but it can be true. Though we have measures such as regular checks to ensure that students are in school, we expect that all students live responsible lives. But we also have to make sure that a free environment is created for them to grow up, but some of them are just deviant," he added.

He said the boy has gone against school rules and regulations and the disciplinary committee will deal with him if he is brought back to school. When asked, the house prefect said he thought Kwesi had been given an exeat to go home.

After the enquiries had established that he was not given permission by any of the housemasters, they thought he had run home and were awaiting the student’s return for the appropriate disciplinary action to be meted out to him, when his father came to say that he was not in the house.

Some students interviewed said Kwesi, who turned deviant in the second term of Form One, always complained that he was being maltreated by the father at home. They said he often said he was going to travel outside the country because he was not happy at home. Kwesi’s father told the Daily Graphic that his son’s biological mother is resident in Italy.

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